Thoughts On Leadership

What makes a good leader?  When you search “leadership” on Google, you get 139,000,000 results. Everyone is an expert, right?  So I’m going to add the 139,000,001st search result on “leadership” today.  I don’t have a lot research or case studies to arm you with.  I’m not going to give you statistics on what good or bad leaders do.  These are just my own thoughts on what has worked for me as someone that has had good leaders throughout my career.

Look at the image above.  Who is the “leader” in this image?  Most would say the single pawn at the bottom.  Now, look at the image with the cluster of pawns as the “leader”.  This is my vision of a great leader.  Someone who puts the interest of his or her team above personal interests.  Think about this in terms of the social web…it’s about relationships and what we can do to empower, educate and train others.

Don’t misunderstand.  Leaders still need to provide direction, objectives and goals.  That is the starting point.  It’s how they equip the team to meet those goals is what truly matters.  This might seem idealistic, but I truly believe that thinking about your team as people rather than an asset to achieve an end goal, performance (both in time and quality) improve.  It makes the workplace fun and creates a sense of loyalty and trust among the team.

I recently came across an article from the Harvard Business Review that started to get me thinking about this.  You can read it here.  The article talked about “transactional leaders” and “transformational leaders” and the 4 things employees need from leaders.

  1. The need to love and be loved
  2. The need to grow
  3. The need to contribute
  4. The need for meaning

For me, having the above “needs” met is a must to keep me motivated and the fire burning and I’ll definitely keep these needs top of mind when I lead others.

If you don’t feel this way, then you can read this article (thanks Dave Murray!): 5 Ways to Ensure Mediocrity in Your Organization

Now it’s your turn.  What are examples of good or great leadership that you’ve experienced?

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. ~ John 10:11


It’s all about the customer

One of the benefits of GM being a corporate sponsor of Future Midwest was getting the opportunity to meet with Joseph Jaffe (@jaffejuice) and hear him talk about his latest book, Flip the Funnel.  I finally started to read it last week.  What are my initial thoughts?  It’s all about the customer.  Jaffe proposes “flipping” the traditional marketing funnel upside down and using your current customers as your brand evangelists to help generate new sales.

This certainly is a different mindset among a lot of corporations today.  Think about it.  Most companies are solely focused on the time of the purchase.  What about focusing on the time between the purchase?  There are countless examples out there now…think Zappos.  They are all about the customer and customer service.

The other factor in all of this are the social tools (it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t mention those!).  Customers talk to each other!  We all know the power of word of mouth and customers trust each other more so than they trust the brands themselves.  Jaffe uses the “Conversation Prism” from Brian Solis to illustrate his point (see below).  With all the tools out there, are brands paying attention to what customers are saying about them?

With Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, consumers are generating content and opinions that influence their personal networks.  If brands can talk to and take care of these customers regularly, then what do you think the conversation will be about?  My hypothesis is that it will be positive.

The last thing I want to leave you with is this.  GM at one time had a division that was clearly focused on the customer.  It was Saturn.  Can you imagine if that customer experience existed today with the products that are currently in market?  Remember the “Saturn Homecoming”?  Saturn invited ALL of its customers to Spring Hill, TN to see where their cars were built.  The response?  44,000 people made their way to Tennessee.  Talk about customer loyalty!

Detroit Reverse…Breaking Down the Cultural Divide [video]

You’ve heard me talk about Detroit Reverse recently.  This has the potential to be great but can only achieve greatness if you get involved and help change the perception.  We need you, my social web / technology / networked brethren to help get the word out and talk about Detroit Reverse.

There WILL BE 500 high schoolers together the week of August 2 – 6.

They WILL BE visible in the community…both in the city and the suburbs.

If you see them or hear that they will be near you, go to them and help out.  And please, talk about this in your social networks.

To my friends from Future Midwest 2010, this is an opportunity to put into action the feelings you had back in April in Royal Oak.  All you need to do is GET INVOLVED.

The video below interviews two local high schoolers, one from the suburbs and another from the city.  Both talk about perceptions of one another.  Both talk about building TRUE relationships with one another and doing more than just volunteering for an afternoon.

Twitter: @detroitreverse

Facebook: Detroit Reverse


Detroit Reverse (video) – Pay attention #FMW10!

Hey everyone!  If you recall, last week Bryan Willmert (@bryanwillmert) and I kicked off our recaps of Future Midwest 2010.  Well today, we’re here again to give you an opportunity to put into action the energy and emotion that you felt during that 2 day conference!  Watch the video and please be thinking about how you can give back.  We need volunteers, sponsors and help communicating this locally.

Thanks for taking the time and please let us know if you have any questions!

Twitter: @detroitreverse

Hashtag: #detroitreverse

Information for the event this Sunday, May 2 at 6:30pm is below:

Second Ebenezer Church
14601 Dequindre Rd.
Detroit, MI 48212-1503

Best of Future Midwest ’10 (#FMW10)

Continuing with my Future Midwest recap, I wanted to give you a snippet of some of the great content that was shared last week.  These are just some of the many quotes that I feverishly took as they were spoken from the stage.  I’ll also give kudos to Southfield, Michigan’s very own Jay Adelson who gave the keynote on Friday night.  His message followed the Future Midwest opening video which you can view here.  It was the perfect combination to motivate and inspire everyone in attendance!

  • There is no next big thing.  The next big thing is now. ~ Joseph Jaffe
  • Every community has an Oprah, someone with tremendous influence. Your job is to find the Oprah and arm them with what they need to influence the community. ~ Christopher Barger
  • You have one mouth and two ears…use them in that proportion. ~ Requoted by Scott Monty
  • Build community around what you are passionate about. ~ Blagica Bottigliero
  • Engagement is a generic term for not doing the diligence you need to…be specific. ~ Ken Burbary
  • Success means never letting the competition define you.  Instead you have to define yourself based on a point of view you care deeply about. ~ Tom Chappel, Tom’s of Maine from Scott Hauman

As you can see, lots of great information to help you build your social web and marketing strategies.  I’m confident that if you take these approaches, most of your projects have a greater chance of succeeding.

On to Jay Adelson…his message was simple, “We need crazy.”  Don’t accept the limits that are around you.  He said, “Limits aren’t real…look for limits and break them.”  His presentation was short and to the point…take risks and fail forward.  Given what this region went through the last 18 months, what do we really have to lose?  Pardon the cliche, but it can only get better!  Below is an interview Jay did with The Hub right before going on stage.  This should give you a great representation of his message to the crowd at the Royal Music Theater on April 16th.

There you have it.  That’s my recap of Future Midwest 2010.  I’m sure the organizers have even bigger things planned for 2011 and I can’t wait to be a part of it!

One final thing…look out for the challenge that Bryan Willmert and I are going to pose to all of you!  It’s going to be great!

Thanks for your time!  Feel free to leave comments below!  Would love the feedback!

My thoughts on Future Midwest 2010 (#FMW10)

We are almost 1 week removed from Future Midwest 2010.  I can’t tell you how much of a joy it’s been to read the other recaps and thoughts from bloggers in the area throughout the week.  One thing is for certain, if the goal of the organizers of Future Midwest 2010 was to educate, inspire and motivate the attendees…mission accomplished!  The overwhelming themes I’ve been reading are about taking this energy and excitement beyond just a 2 day conference and making it a part of every day life in metro Detroit.

If you haven’t read a blog about Future Midwest, here are four you can choose from:

Soul Excursion (@bryanwillmert)

Detroit Moxie (@becksdavis)

I’m Working On It (@beckyjohns)

How to be Amazing, and Take Over the World (@CAGarland)

You may ask, “So Patrick, what did you take away from Future Midwest?”  Well…a lot!

  • I got a lot of great quotes (which I share later this week).
  • I received confirmation that what I believe about the social web is true…customer focus and building relationships always wins.
  • I once again realized the true value of the social web is getting to meet the people I’ve interacted with online in person!
  • Detroit and the Midwest can come back because of the amount of talent and smarts that I saw at the Royal Oak Music Theater on April 16 and 17
  • This technology is here to help bring us back to the roots of business…relationships.
  • The value of online community is research…finding out the questions we didn’t even think to ask (Thanks Ben Smithee for that one!)

The greater challenge will be the “what’s next” that I mentioned above.  How can we make an impact now and carry this momentum forward?  It will take passion, hard work, and an idea that the area can rally around.  That’s where I think you can help.  Stay tuned later this week as Bryan Willmert and I propose an idea to Detroit’s tech community.  We’ve all talked and blogged about making a difference.  Now is the time to take you up on that.

Have a great week everyone!

P.S. If you attended Future Midwest, the organizers are seeking your feedback.  Click here for the survey!