Search This Blog

CCE in brief

My photo
Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Saturday 21 September 2013

Political Fairness

Of course, politics isn't about fairness.  Look across the aisle - do you think any of her opponents (or for that matter, large swaths of her team) care about fairness? 

The only code in politics is "win, then spin."

But there's more to government than politics.  There's also leadership.

Leadership is about creating the conditions for success - for your mission, your constituency and your team - and in that order.  Leaders don't even put themselves on the list - if they do their job well, their team will carry that part for them without need of whipping.

As Premier of Ontario, it's incumbent on Wynne to put the interests of the province and the Legislature ahead of those of her Party, meaning not kicking the Opposition when they're down.  When it comes to a choice between a direction that if better in aggregate but provides a win/misses an opportunity to trap the opposition vs. a lesser piece of policy that scores partisan points, leaders will always take the first choice.

After all, leaders leave no one behind, which is why we trust them to lead all of us in the first place.
It doesn't mean hugging the thugs you would stand against, so much as ensuring you have the best competition to truly  challenge your ideas and practises, ensuring the best possible result.

We don't see a lot of leadership in Canadian politics these days, which helps explain much of the democratic malaise we're facing now.

For anyone actually interested in leading, there's a lesson in this.

Friday 20 September 2013

Know Your Enemy

A well-written, although adjective-heavy compilation of the perspectives I often hear when I engage with conservatives, big or small "C."  It's very informative.  

I love that intelligence has become a high ground that both the political left and right are fighting over.  Depending on your point of view, it can mean so many things.

Justin Time: If There Is To Be A Revolution...

While Tories across the nation are circling the wagons and firing at each other, something is happening out there.  Partially due to general malaise about an economic slump that's disproportionately impacting some Canadians over others and largely fuelled by the networked intelligence capabilities of social media, the public beast is being wakened from its slumber.  The steady diet of sound-bite messaging and partisan attacks has left them hungry for substance; the constant bombardment of political cynicism has them desirous of something they can believe in.
There are no surprises in this - the trajectory has always been there for anyone to see.  Thanks in no small part to Team Harper, people are looking elsewhere to see their concerns represented.
A key element of this shift is a reversal of a trend that has dominated Canadian politics for decades; as scandals and behind-the-scenes shenanigans increasingly make headlines, we are once again looking beyond the leader at the teams that support them.  This is ironic in the extreme; while Stephen Harper (formerly a back-room policy wonk) tries to maintain the dissonance that he is firmly in command but has no idea what bad behaviour his team is getting up to, Canada's closest thing to a royal figure is slowly stepping back and letting his people into the spotlight. 
Recognizing that people are going to pay attention to his players anyway, Trudeau is picking them as much for their personal attributes/public affability as for their internal skills and competencies.  He's been doing this for at least a year, which suggests to me that he probably saw this trend emerging quite some time ago.
In terms of narrative what started off as traditional, motivational-speaker type messaging - "hope and hard work", etc. - has slowly been gaining depth and dimension.  As with his recent Foreign Policy Q+A (and introduction of his newest team member, retired Lt. General Andrew Leslie), Trudeau is demonstrating the same clear-eyed determination we've associated with him since he beat Patrick Brazeau; at the same time, he's making it clear that his management style will be the opposite of Stephen Harper's, featuring a comfort with delegation. 
While the Tories and NDP continue to attack Trudeau using refined versions of the same political tools that have been favoured for ages, Trudeau has boldly decided to change the rules of the game.
It's a risky gambit; new ways of doing things always are.  What is increasingly undeniable is that the way we're doing things now is unsustainable.  Much as the Industrial Revolution reshaped the world we live in and how we understand society, Trudeau has taken a look at the lay of the land and is positioning himself at the forefront of our next major transformation.
From Davos on down to main street everywhere, people are saying there has to be a revolution - not one of aggression, but of consciousness.
Trudeau is slowly laying the foundation for the sort of Canada he believes will emerge next.  There is still much to be done - government services, especially healthcare, are in need of a systematic overhaul.  We need to better position ourselves for success in the Knowledge Economy instead of leaving all of our eggs in the natural resource basket.  Big issues ranging from immigration to training to labour all need new direction.  Canada also needs a consistent foreign policy approach that holds true to what we have always represented; a friendly smile backed by one hell of a punch.
The other Parties can play traditional politics and lose, or they can try to crib from Trudeau's playbook and reinforce his message.  If Team Trudeau can maintain the trajectory they're already on, there's no reason he can't become Canada's next Prime Minister.

Thursday 19 September 2013

25 Things Influential People Do Better Than Anyone Else (Mark Fidelman)

25 Things Influential People Do Better Than Anyone Else

How do people become truly influential in the social age?
If you, like me have been raised with the notion that celebrities, sports stars and politicians were influential because of what they do and not who they are – we’re on the same page. But when you actually examine today’s influential people and how they became influential – the picture has changed dramatically.
Influence is both a natural and learned quality that is developed over time. It can still be inherited, received by winning an election, or conveyed by a new job title – but that’s becoming less prevalent now. I’ve seen influencers in the social age drive tremendous awareness for social causes, leads for companies and votes for presidential elections.
Many of these influencers have mastered the art of communicating what everyone else is thinking or what they should be thinking. They are curious and always ask, “What’s important here?”
So after studying, hiring and working with some of the most influential people on the planet, my team and I have identified 25 things these influencers do better than anyone else.

1.     They are Fantastic Public Speakers.


Influence is about communicating ideas and making them stick. For most influential people, public speaking is the best way to do that. Brian Solis is a well-known digital analyst and author – and part of why he is so well known is his unique ability to motivate his audience at keynote speaking engagements.
Kare Anderson has told me, “Brian is one of those rare presenters that can deliver quality content and enchantment at the same time, in the same sentence.”

2.     The Ability to Make the Mundane – Interesting.


Matt Cutts is head of Google’s Webspam team, and he’s sort of the unofficial face for Google’s fight against spam. He accumulated his nearly 300,000 Twitter followers because of his ability to educate people on web spam while entertaining them in the process. And he’s well known for his sense of fairness. When Cutts found out that Google had violated its own quality guidelines, he downgraded Google Chrome’s homepage. That takes a lot of courage.

3.     They have exceptional interpersonal skills.


Most influencers have a unique ability to make the person they’re talking with feel special. It’s the ability to chat with anyone, about anything. Influencers are great at chatting up people at conferences, events, meetings – even on social channels. Social media branding pro Mandy Edwards is a great example of someone who not only shares great info on her Twitter account, but also engages in back-and-forth discussions with the people who share her content.

4.     They have more passion about their interests.

As Steve Jobs once said, “People with passion can change the world.” The influencers we know all have passion about their interests. If you readMichael Carney’s articles on pandodaily, you’ll see that his passion for early-stage technology companies ensures that he puts in the time and effort to get to know the companies he writes about, and he happily shares these details with his readers.

5.     They find the positive in things


When Facebook started to alter their algorithms around EdgeRank many people were upset and started slamming the company. Mari Smith on the other hand, took everything in stride and trained her followers on how to maximize opportunity with the new system. This Facebook marketing coach has done more than her fair share of speaking events, webinars, guest blogging, book writing and more, but she never appears anywhere without a huge, welcoming smile on her face. This friendliness makes her more approachable, and is a good lesson to aspiring influencers who find themselves a little on the sour side.

6.     They have superior powers of persuasion.

Influential people If they couldn’t persuade you – to like them, to buy their book, to read their blog, to work with them – influencers really wouldn’t have much power. Visit Jay Baer’s website, for instance, and you’ll notice one thing right away: it’s called “Convince & Convert.” Jay’s philosophy is to help businesses use social media to persuade their audience of a core message, and with clients like Wal-Mart and Petco under his belt, it’s clearly working.

7.     They have the confidence to act.


They believe in themselves, no matter what, and will often take huge risks because of this confidence. Benjamin Robbins, principal at Palador, is one confident guy. He is a top 50 mobile influencer on Twitter, writer of a top 50 IT blog, and believes in his ability to use mobile tech so much that he’s spending an entire year working solely from a single mobile device.

8.     The accelerate prospects through the sales funnel.

Influencers move clients through sales funnel from prospect to client with unsurpassed quickness. Whether it’s self professed “geek culture cultivator”Chris Pirillo recommending the latest tech, or Robert Scoble evangelizing Rackspace, they’re able to make sales that don’t seem like sales because of their genuine passion for what they’re selling.

9.     They maintain an intense focus.

Being a known quantity is beneficial for influencers, since they won’t have to bother with those tiresome “introductions” the rest of us have to go through. Take a look at Bob Egan, Forbes columnist and self-described “mobile industry veteran.” He’s not writing about his Harley or his kids. He’s writing about mobile. He is mobile. And whether you read his column, or connect with him on Twitter, he always embodies mobile business.

10.  They can instantly energize a room.


An influencer knows how to work a room and her energy is contagious. Lauren Hockenson is a tech reporter for GigaOM, and, while she’s definitely on top of the latest tech trends, she also knows how to get other people excited about them, too. Just check out her highly-energized Twitter feed@lhockenson.

11.  They have more charisma.


We’re all influenced by charisma, and we all fall for it. Influential people have a natural charisma that helps them make a point, persuade us or get us to listen. As Achim Nowak, author of the new book “Infectious: How to Connect Deeply and Unleash the Energetic Leader Within, has said, “charisma is inside and that ‘je ne sais quoi’ is what enables certain people to draw you in. When we talk about charisma, it’s the quality people who light up the stage have. They’re like an energy magnet—and we want to engage.”
Chrissy Farr, was named by MediaPost as one of the top ten most influential people on Madison Avenue, and Refinery29 as one of "eight women making moves in tech." Farr’s charisma has certainly helped.

12.  They have remarkable networks.

Being plugged in to an active, engaged network is part of what influencers do best. They’re able to connect to and build relationships with people who they can help and who can help them. Sensei Marketing partner Sam Fiorella is the founder and moderator of Twitter’s first weekly debate, #bizforum, a forum for him to network, connect others, and learn about the latest business trends. The connections he’s made through this chat have no doubt had an impact on his success.

13.  They are talented multi-taskers.


They may be talking to you, but know that at least 25% of their brain is somewhere else. Don’t worry, you have their attention – 75% is all anyone can get! Influencers are busy people. Just take Danny Brown for example: he has the #1 marketing blog in the world (as chosen by HubSpot), is the co-author of a recent book on influence marketing, a speaker at TEDx, New Media Expo and more, VP Marketing & Technology at ArCompany, and he has two kids and two dogs to boot! If he wasn’t multitasking, he’d never be able to juggle so many balls at once.

14.  They are flexible and adaptable.

Being able to change mid-action, adapt to challenges and develop high quality content for an audience are important characteristics of successful influencers. It’s better to bend than to break, and influencers know this intuitively.
Haydn Shaughnessy is one such influencer – not only is he an expert at spotting trends, he is quick to adapt to them. His excellent coverage of Apple and Samsung demonstrate how quickly he recognized what his followers wanted.

15.  They have excellent timing.

When do you jump ship? When do you give it your all? Influencers are able to time their moves to make the most positive impact on their lives and the lives around them. Guy Kawasaki has jumped from being an Apple evangelist, to writing books, to (most recently) working for Google+: all moves that have extended his career and his influence.

16.  They freely give out compliments.


Give and ye shall receive. The more compliments influencers dole out, the more accolades they tend to get in return. Many turn to Twitter or other social networks to pump up those around them. Take a look at how enthusiastically Cheryl Burgess (@ckburgess) takes to Twitter to compliment her followers.

17.  They leverage technology to improve their reach.

The best influencers always seem to use the latest social tools, platforms, mobile apps and other tech to extend their reach. They make a point to stay on top of trends and they use the latest technology solutions to optimize their time. TechCrunch’s Alex Williams (@alexwilliams) is an example of someone that understands the power of technology, media and reach.

18.  They are more prepared.

The big difference between highly influential people and those that want to be are the amount of preparation that the former puts into their work. Influencers don’t jump into anything blind if they can be prepared for it. They’ll pour over websites, documents, emails, notes and anything they can get their hands on before they head into a client meeting or big event.
Steve Faktor doesn’t just show up to a client meeting with a few notes, he brings a well-researched playbook for discussion. Faktor is every client’s dream consultant.

19.  They are equally productive when they travel.

They’re often on the go, so they’ve mastered the art of being productive while traveling. eTickets, online check-in, conference calls from the security line… influencers know how to use their time and technology to make travel easier and more productive. They seem to be on the go all the time but they don’t miss a beat.
Social business strategist Bryan Kramer is a master at staying productive while on the road. He will be a speaker, host or panelists at 10 conferences across San Francisco, Portland, Lake Tahoe, Dallas, Virginia, Atlanta, Colorado, San Jose, New Orleans, and Los Angeles between July 30th and October 10th of this year – and he’ll still be as productive as you and I.

20.  They understand the power of reciprocation.

Anyone with influence understands the importance of reciprocity. Just like they give and get compliments, influencers live in a world of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” They’ll happily do favors for those in their network, and they expect those favors to be returned sometime in the future.
If you’re looking to build a business, look no further than the master reciprocator- Ted Rubin. He’ll quickly build a community around your business – just keep some vests at hand.

21.  They are Kinder.

Don’t confuse kindness with weakness. Princess Diana was one; Imelda Marcos is the other. The former understands that malice doesn’t pay in the long run. They also know that being helpful can go a long way in winning fans and influence. Take a look at Kristi Hines, who blogs at Kikolani. She offers plenty of free content for optimizing personal and business blogs, a free ebook, free guides – and yet she’s still able to bring business in to her content development services. She’s helpful and kind, and that’s a big part of how she’s become a regular contributor to several Power 150 blogs.

22.  They are ethical.

It’s tempting to work with a company merely for the money. But the influencers we work with go out of their way to avoid those situations. And when they do work with a company they like, they disclose the relationship. It’s not just the law; it’s the right thing to do. 

23.  They don’t have an off switch.


Lori Ruff is known as the “LinkedIn Diva”, and she lives up to that name in everything she does. As you’d expect, her LinkedIn profile is pretty close to perfect, and she’s always using LinkedIn to share business news and ideas with her colleagues. But if you follow her on Twitter or check out her Facebook page, she’s “on” there, too – posting and engaging about LinkedIn and social business.
Ruff always seems to be helping people, making connections and expanding her network. She isn’t someone that slows down.

24.  They build trust.

You can’t build something great without a little criticism every now and then, and influencers tend to take this in stride. Rather than being derailed by critiques of their product, service or brand, they use this feedback to make themselves better, stronger, and more trustworthy. Influential people understand why they need to stand for what they believe in – and in the end, people will respect and trust them more.
Ekaterina Walters doesn’t need to think like Zuckerberg to build trust; she has become one of the most trusted sources of information for influencers precisely because she is open, transparent and honest about her opinions.

25.  They spot trends.

Most influential people can accurately predict new short-term trends and shifting tastes in their sphere of influence. They’re at the hub of activity, conversation and sentiment about their focus area. It can be anything from fashion to automobiles to technology, keeping an eye on these influencers can help your business’s decision making.
Whether it’s the evolution of work or new skills every modern employee must haveJacob Morgan has an acute ability to spot new work related trends and convey them to his followers.

Picturing the Present


Here's my solution - think differently about what defines success.  Success isn't something the world owes you, it's something shared that, if you maximize your potential and that of those around you, we can all contribute to.  Who you are isn't defined by what you take and how quickly you get it, but by what you leave behind and how long it lasts.  You get out of life what you invest in it - the same holds true for work, relationships and yes, even happiness.

The same applies to those who feel these youngsters are delusional and need to lower their expectations.  The world you grew up in has changed in ways both subtle and gross.  Don't be stingy, don't be cruel - mentor, inspire, build resilience.  Hire good people, train them and empower them to excel.  Remember, though, that the sorts of work you want from them now requires different tools, accommodations and motivations then you might be used to.  Remember to listen; just because they're young, doesn't mean they haven't wisdom to share; just because you're established, doesn't mean you have all the answers.

Somewhere between the extremes lies the way forward.  Progress always comes from the centre.

Vic Toews: A Case Study

I don't mean to pick on Toews, really - he just provides such great fodder for analysis.
Despite how we've framed politics - a left/right battle between isms - the truth is that the political positions we take are more about cognition than anything else.  Political people can tell themselves that really, they're clever, Machiavellian manipulators of public opinion, but truth be told that's really a delusion, like a drunk driver who convinces themselves they're okay to drive.
The Conservatives do have a hidden agenda, as do all Parties - agendas so deeply engrained that they're hidden even from the pols themselves.  Depending on how we're hard-wired, what our upbringing was like and what pressures we're under at any given time, we human animals will gravitate between survival-of-the-fittest behaviours that are either selfish/deferential to like-minded confidence or pro-social behaviours that are more altruistic but also willing to question authority and common wisdom.
Toews provides a classic example of a limbic, reactive, aggressive, hyper-confident and externally-dismissive person.
Without delving into his personal life, which can be mined elsewhere, there's enough material from his political performance to create a clear profile.
Toews speaks before he thinks.  It gets him into trouble, but he seemingly can't help himself.
Toews views the world as black and white.  You're either with us, against us or you don't matter.
Along the same lines, if you're on the black side of the spectrum, you don't get to be a victim.  In his mind, Ashley Smith is like a bike-rider; whatever happens to her, she had it comin'.  You swim with the sharks, you're gonna get bitten.
Toews doesn't do contrition well - it'd be too much like admitting fault, which as any blue-blooded limbic thinker can tell you is tantamount to admitting weakness among competitors dying to take you down.
Toews does do attacks well - in fact, it's his default form of communication with anyone he doesn't understand (i.e. doesn't think like him).
Toews sees threats around every corner.  Seas of troubles, etc.; we gotta hit hard, hit first and build tall walls to keep The Other at bay, both from without and within.
None of this is to say Toews is a bad man - he isn't.  There will be people who praise his hardened stance on sex offenders just as there are those who will condemn his increased criminalization of marginalized groups and disregard for the rights of prisoners.  At the end of the day, though, Toews' legacy is nothing more than a series of decisions and the things that informed them.
From a neuro-anthropological perspective, Toews is threat-oriented, aggressive and dismissive of people he saw as useless or risks as non-humans, not worthy of those who rested in his plus column.  He's a chest-thumper, a shoot-from-the-hip gun advocate and someone who is unquestionably authentic, if not well-thought out.  In a different time or place, he would have been calling for aggressive strikes on Cuba or filling of Gulags in Soviet Russia with enemies of the state. 
Which is to say that he's a classic selection-of-the-fittest, limbic-oriented thinker. 
The other day I went for a walk in the woods, at night and without a flashlight - I could barely see a few feet in front of me, the brush closed in and the ominous sound of creatures going bump in the night got my heart racing.  Although I was alone, my gut kept telling me that I was being pursued; every shadowy object felt like an obstacle before my senses made me fully aware that it was just a grouping of leaves that only seemed solid from a distance.  At the same time, I felt alert and ready for anything; adrenaline and cortisol flowed through my system, extending my situational awareness and increasing my response time.  It was fight-or-flight mode.
I imagine this is the sort of mind frame someone like Toews is in the majority of the time.
Not that there's anything egregiously wrong with his position; in fact, it's quite appropriate for the sort of smaller and less socially complex groupings humans lived in for the majority of our existence.  Again, Toews isn't a bad mad - he's simply maladapted to living in a diverse, complex society where an increasing number of factors beyond mom-and-pop parenting and tribal codes of ethics shape both pro- and anti-social behaviours (like crime and over-simplifying discrimination).
Evolution isn't a homogenous process, nor does it travel in a set direction; instead, it's simply the process by which life adapts to changing conditions or, failing that, dies off.  The evolution of society has put some controls on this process; much as feats of engineering have allowed us to redirect the flow of rivers and move entire mountains, the act of committing sociology allows us to control our own trajectory as well.
As social evolution is mapped on top of biological evolution and actual cognitive adaptation lags behind, we often find ourselves in positions of cognitive dissonance where our instincts are at odds with the decisions that would be in our own long-term best interests.  Toews, reactive, aggressive and exclusionary fella that he is rests further on the limbic, biological-evolutionary end of the spectrum.
Toews thinks he's doing a service in locking away the bad people and throwing away the key, without realizing that the cognitive mechanisms through which he's determining who's a victim vs. whose an animal are leading him to exacerbate the problem. 
There's no point in hating people like him - that simply fuels in-kind thinking and reciprocative, aggressive behaviours.  That gets us nowhere in a social context where we can't make opponents go away.  It's better to forgive them, for they know not what they do; folk like Toews are equally victims of their own behaviour and prisoners of their own limitations.
Instead of responding in kind, it's better to model right thought and right action and show 'em the light.  Progress isn't easy, after all - it's something we can only achieve together.