Jun 20, 2009

The Four C's of Quality Content, Part 4 of 4

4) Clean and Unbiased – As most of us know, there’s no shortage of questionable ulterior motives, unfairly biased opinions and downright scams. Most of us have probably seen the Jim Cramer vs. John Stewart episode and need no further proof of the one-sided nature of the media in general. How do we know who has our best interests at heart? If they’re selling something on our first contact, it’s pretty easy to spot. Others you just have to watch for a while and see what they’re promoting. Almost everyone has some type of agenda they're promoting. So the questions becomes, what are they promoting as they integrate their pitch into the content?

+ Jim Collins’ stuff is pretty strait forward. His books, “Good to Great” and “Built to Last” are research intensive, and provide the readers with analysis of principles most of us can incorporate into our business and daily lives. But the best part about his writings, books, and research is that he’s not selling you anything other than the principles he’s discovered. Sure, he’s game for consulting gigs, and book sales, like most business authors. But the book isn’t being used as bait.

- Howard Lindzon is the popular stock blogger and creator of wallstrip.com. In the first few pages of his book "The Wallstrip" he advises his readers to turn off the TV, stop following hot stock tips, and avoid headlines. Contrary to the advise he gives in his book, he sends out a barrage of stock pick twits on a daily basis. Similar to Jim Cramer, Lindzon hypes a stock by calling it long or short, creating a very real and inherit conflict of interest. Such content is of course biased and what some might call "unclean."

Jun 19, 2009

The Four C's of Quality Content, Part 3 of 4

3) Creative Contributions – How much of the information is fresh, giving the readers a new perspective? Or is the content rehashed or simply hard to digest? I enjoy fresh thoughts, new ideas, new paradigms of the world.

+ Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad Poor Dad” series has provided the world with a whole new view of the way we view our money and investments. I solute Kiyosaki for stepping out of bounds and introducing us to a world many of us didn’t know existed. Eckart Tolle, author of “the Power of Now” has also introduced readers to a new level of spirituality and understanding about the evolution of humanity. Both are examples of pioneers in thought, providing their readers with, not just new ideas, but new paradigms of the world.

-- Brian Tracy has about a hundred different books and audio programs, but they’re pretty much the same thing it seems. Most of his ideas are simply copy-and-pastes from others who’ve gone before him. Easy to digest, sure. But completely unoriginal. Lots of scattered ideas, yes; most of which contradict other ideas he puts forth. A cohesive, integrated or original philosophy or paradigm? Not even close.

Jun 18, 2009

The Four C's of Quality Content, Part 2 of 4

2) Credibility – I like knowing that the content I’m reading is written by someone who’s connected to the subjects and scenes he’s talking about. It’s amazing to me the errors I’ve found in even the mainstream magazine such as The Fast Company or Inc. Magazine. Credibility goes way down when the writer isn’t in the trenches on the subject matter.

+ Chris Brogan is someone I respect because he makes the proactive choice to connect and listen. He went so far as to delete his facebook fan page claiming “it’s not about me”. Listening, as opposed to just speaking, is a major piece of the credibility factor for me.

- Seth Godin– I love Seth’s books and blog posts, but I’m still baffled by the fact that it appears from his twitter account that he follows nobody. Is he not interested in what others are talking about? Is he really connected? Most of his content seems to be philosophical and theoretical, as opposed to practical and applicable. Is the content and the view he provides credible?

Jun 16, 2009

The Four C's of Quality Content, Part 1 of 4

It's been said that we're drowning in information, but starving for knowledge.

How are we to determine the quality stuff from the minutia?

My brother-in-law owns his own jewelry manufacturing company. Anyone who's ponied up a stash of cash in exchange for a diamond ring can probably predict what he told me about the 4 C's of diamond quality: clarity, cut, carrot, and color. They have different ways to measure each of these 4 categories to determine a diamond's value.

We too should have some way of measuring the quality of content available at our fingertips if we hope to digest the healthy stuff while keeping the bad stuff out. We are what we eat after all.

So here are the 4 C's of Quality Mental Health Food -

1) Character. Look at the source of the content - who's writing it? What's their background say about them? Does their core-being speak to you? What are their basic beliefs?


+ Gary Vaynerchuk of winelibrary.com, and author of the book “Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passionis someone I admire and enjoy hearing whenever I get the chance: he generates excitement and there’s a lot of vibrancy in his message. He loves his work, and you can feel his enthusiasm when he speaks. Contrast his passion for life, his work ethic and 20-hour a day work schedule with someone who’s message isn’t consistent with their output. Gary eats, sleeps and dreams his business, and it’s apparent that he loves what he does.

- Tim Ferriss on the other hand is far from inspiring. Many people have fallen in love with the best selling book, "The 4 Hour Workweek" – probably because the idea of not working is appealing to many of the zombies who get by with dead-end jobs and hate their lives. Tim shows people how to escape work, but not how to thrive and overcome challenges. While the book was entertaining, for me, his message wasn’t very inspiring.

Jun 15, 2009

Ignore the Boss: Embrace Values and Purpose to Thrive

In a world without formal boundaries, controls, or coercions, great individuals, teams, and organizations must rely upon and build informal networks based upon shared values and purposes.

Relying solely upon the resources at a company's disposal within the organization leads to atrophy, decay, and irrelevance.  We must learn to embrace those who share our values and purposes who aren't within our direct influence.  

Values have to do with the core being.  It's about philosophy, mind set, and common ground.  

Purpose has more to do with the doings.  It's about the accomplishment of a specific cause or working towards a desired outcome.   

More often than not, purposes and values mesh - but sometimes they don't.  I may have to work with a team of folks I simply can't stand because we share a common purpose or goal.  Values are in this case subordinated for the more important purposes we're trying to achieve.  

Conversely, I may work with a group of people lacking the skills we need to get to where we may want to go as a group, because these are the people I love and who's collective values align with mine.  

The beautiful thing about the world we live in and the tools we have available at our fingertips - Twitter, Facebook, personal blogs, and other platforms - is that we're now able to find, channel, and merge our values and purposes with those of others in a more seamless and altruistic and cohesive type of way.  Riding the horses in the direction they're already going is easier now than ever before.  

For most organizations, pursuing opportunities without regard to present resources is a big challenge.  Welcome to the new imperative.

As Jim Collins wrote in his book "Leading Beyond the Walls", the exercise of true leadership is inversely proportional to the exercise of power."  

That is to say, the more we rely upon and utilize our positions, resources and controls to maintain a formal position of power, the less true leadership power we possess.  Demonstrating formal power and authority diminishes the pure, true leadership power.  

Refraining from using formal positional power, in exchange for the service-based leadership model, increases power in an individual, team, or organization.