When I see something written by Angie Hicks (of Angie’s List) about her work life, I always try to read it. She started the hard way to build her business and her hard work and continued vision made it what it is today.

The excerpt below is from an article where Angie offers 5 great tips on how an individual contributor (what she calls a “doer”) can develop him/herself into a leader and manager. Great article! Here’s the link to the full article:

Here’s the excerpt with Angie’s 5 tips:

“Leadership qualities can be developed no matter where you are in an organization. You don’t need a particular title or job description to bring vision and inspiration to your work.

Here are five tips for developing leadership skills:

1. Be great at your current job. Make sure you’re excelling at whatever it is you’re doing now.

2. Observe and listen. Pay attention to the people around you and above you in the organization. Notice what works, and what doesn’t.

3. Step up. If you have a vision, do what you can to share it. If you see a way to improve something, do what you can to make it happen.

4. Be willing to evolve. Be humble enough to acknowledge your weaknesses and open to doing the work to strengthen them.

5. Be patient with yourself and others. It’s been a process for me to transition from a hands-on doer to a manager and leader. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, so it’s important that I give the people who work for me room to try things and not be afraid to fail. But I make sure they know that I expect them to come to me if they run into a problem, so I can help solve it.”

I would love to hear what you think of this advice and any advice you’ve followed or questions that came to mind as you read this.

Have a great day and thanks for reading!

Being Nice, or Mean People Suck.

I try to be a nice person. I want to think that people think that I’m nice. When people talk about me, I would love it if they mention what a nice person I am.

While being nice is important to me, many may not think it’s a very lofty goal. Or, it may not seem too pertinent with every goal out there that’s “achievable.” And worst of all, many may think I’m just a Pollyanna talking. But from my perspective, being nice is more than a smile and friendly “hello.” It’s a way of greeting the day, facing chores and errands and by all means, interacting with people and behaving in the places you go.

I have a magnet that says “mean people suck.” I love that saying because to me the definition is that that mean (vs nice) people suck at life and probably have a pretty sucky life. It’s the same way to say…nice people rock. I need THAT magnet now!

Going through life assuming that people aren’t out to get you or knock you down is one way to be nice and to enjoy your life…and not have a sucky life. What I really mean to say is to focus on yourself and how you want to be perceived. Treat others how you want to be treated…even if they treat you poorly. And if you aren’t nice all the time, still treat others the way you want to be treated. Example: say I snap at a co-worker (not nice!) because I have a headache and am worried about something happening in my personal life. I would apologize to that person. Just like if someone did that to me, I would want an apology. I don’t need an explanation…just an apology. If none comes my way, assume something is sucky in that person’s life and not let it make my life sucky as a result. Regardless, the bar I set for myself is to apologize.

There are lots of ways to say what I am talking about. But my Mom said it best. My Mom, the smartest and nicest woman I ever knew, said to me “You are judged not by what you do and say when people are watching. But what you do and say when no one is watching.” Meaning that you treat someone well even when you aren’t going to get a thank you, or a thank you gift or even an acknowledgement. It will probably make your life less sucky and hopefully make it worthwhile, especially over the long haul.

Now, I’m a writer at heart, and a rhetorician and marketer in my gut. So even if you aren’t being nice in order to get the reward, nonetheless, there are long-term rewards. For example: in the workplace. You create a lasting, positive brand for yourself (the Maggie brand should convey “niceness.”). And you market this brand so that others want to purchase it (well, in this analogy, you want to give me a job). The benefits of hiring this person (Maggie) is that in your workplace you will have someone who you want to work with (as opposed to just having to tolerate), your employees will want to work with and your clients will want to work with. The features of the brand (Maggie) are quality, sincerity, good interpersonal relationships and a keen understanding of marketing. OK so now I’ve launched into selfish promotion but I did it to give an example of how “nice” and “non-suckiness” are powerful skill sets in the workplace…and ones that cannot be taught. A person can change from within but that’s out of an employer’s control. Nice is either part of your brand or it’s not.

Anyhoo…I’m curious to hear what others have to say about the power of nice….in particular in the work world as a skill.

Thanks for your time…

Interesting article that I’m sharing that I saw on a Marketing Communications LinkedIn group this morning written by Tom Martin. And a chance to learn a new word: propinquity = the state of being close to someone/something; a close kinship. In this case, knowing where your customers are gathering online to then craft better content that in turn brings you and your customers closer.

The first step in developing a Propinquity Marketing Strategy is defining your key Propinquity Points. The technique varies by category, industry and prospect but here is a repeatable four-step process that can serve as your starting point.

It’s the same process I use with my clients and we find it to be an excellent jumping off point. As you work through this process, you may find certain steps more or less effective. That’s fine and expected. Feel free to skip over steps that don’t generate good results for you and spend more time with the ones that do. Chances are you’ll even discover a few new tactics or processes that help you discover key Propinquity Points for your industry.

Step One: Social Listening

Use Social Listening tools to find the keywords your prospects are using to discuss your product or service and to define the platforms on which these conversations are occurring. Then use web analytics platforms like Compete and Google Ads to develop a sense for platform traffic. By cross referencing traffic and keyword instance, you can discover which websites, blogs and platforms contain the most target rich environment.

Step Two: Geographic Social Listening

If your prospects and customers gather in known geographic places like festivals, trade shows or sporting arenas, use geographic social listening tools to cast a listening web over the area during events. This isn’t perfect, it won’t capture all the social signal coming emanating from those locations, but it will help you identify potential prospects and, if they’re sharing links in their messaging, favored blogs, websites, etc.

Step Three: Using Primary Research

You’d be surprised what people will tell you if you just ask. While professional researchers almost always do a better job than you could using a DIY platform, the cost of such research isn’t usually justifiable at this point in your Propinquity Marketing program development. Instead, use DIY platforms like SurveyMonkey.com to craft and field simple surveys that you can send to your customers and prospects. Then ask them where they are turning to for information, what their must read news outlets are, etc.

Step Four: Classify Your Propinquity Points

Next you’ll need to classify each Propinquity Point as either an outposts or an embassy. In the simplest terms an outpost is a place where you and your content will show up from time to time and where your prospects congregate. A good example is a guest post on a popular blog or authoring an article for a magazine.

Embassies on the other hand are Propinquity Points where you elect to create a more continuous presence. Like outposts, these are Propinquity Points where your prospective customers congregate. However, based on your research you feel that a focused effort and regular ongoing participation in conversations occurring at these Propinquity Points will result in increased business opportunities. Embassies might include platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter, where you’ll spend time your building and cultivating a community of prospects.

The Power of Propinquity

Propinquity Marketing, properly leveraged, results in increased brand exposure frequency in a condensed time period resulting in prospects moving through the Propinquity Continuum (aware of me >> know me >> like me >> do business with me) more rapidly.

I read a LinkedIn post today in the “Publishing and Editing Professionals” group asking this question. I agreed with the first responses that yes, there are more typos today. The amount and speed with which content can be published is one explanation. Sloppy editing and proof-reading are not the main problem in my opinion because much of the quickest content is not edited or proofed at all. Think of the texting and IMing culture…the abbreviations and misspellings we have come to expect from those typing on their SmartPhones may be transferring to other types of writing.  I admit that I am guilty of shortcuts in texting and IMing…after I got complaints that I took too long to respond, I started shortening my answers. Now I use abt, ppl, lol, ttyl, u, 2, etc instead of spelling out the words..the extent so far is email, text, IM. But as we change, where will it show up next?   Anyhoo….here is what I responded to the group.below. Feel free to comment and add your own thoughts.  

“I agree with the comments abt qty and ease of fixing. Another contributing factor may be the culture of texting and IMing. With abbreviations for a lot of things, writing has become less of an art. Or rather it has become the art of “how quickly can I communicate.”  As a result, many feel more at ease with typos and abbreviations than ever before. I am guilty of it myself and I am the nerd who finds typos in 30 pg legal Terms and Condition documents that most people don’t even read. But back to my point, ppl who spell out everything and worry about spelling it right or proofing may now be the minority, or will soon be.”

I recently read an article on the passiveproductive website offering help with setting and meeting goals. I am a chronic list maker….I have a “To Do” master list, a weekly list and a daily list. Keeping up with my lists helps me remember what I need to do but to manage bigger projects with timelines, multiple deadlines, help needed, decision-making, and multiple tasks, I need something more robust…and electronic so I have an archivable, printable and editable tool. I am just installing a new tool recommended called Goals on Track. My first step is to transfer my “To Do” lists over and start using it. I’m hoping it’s along the lines of a “Microsoft Project” but a far simpler personal version that works on my phone. I’ll write more once I’ve gotten in and used it!

Here I will capture my thoughts, ideas, current projects and archives of my work samples. Thanks for reading and bookmark this site so you can visit me again!