2 Steps To Understanding Your Hard and Soft Skills

Player_runsSocial Presence is about putting your best foot forward… but you need to know which foot that is.  Only when you are clear on what skills you possess can you really paint a good picture of yourself online.

Today we are going to talk about the two types of skills that are critical to your success in business, your HARD and SOFT skills. Your Attitude Adjustment Homework will help you hone in on both so that you will be able to highlight them in your online profiles.

I find that people tend to define themselves more by the technical and business hard skills that they have, rather than the strengths of their personality that are defined by the soft skills.  They lead with their business titles, not with their strengths.

Human Resource people say “it may be your hard skills that get you the interview, but it is your soft skills that get you the job.” (SearchCIO).  So let’s start with the easy stuff and look at your hard skills.

Hard Skills

Hard skills are learned.  You are taught them in school or from books. They are a way of doing something; a procedure, a best practice.  They usually refer to training and knowledge that a person has in a specific skill set.  Hard skills are usually what you spend hours and hours learning in school. First you take the basic courses, then you move on to the more advanced.

Using me as an example, I am a project manager. Project management is my hard skill.  I took many IBM courses in project management, earned Masters certificates from both George Washington and Stanford Universities, passed my Project Management Institute (PMI) Exam to become a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), and also passed the internal IBM certification process.  Though life experience was important in completing these milestones, it was the hard skills, that were being assessed.

Hard skills take smarts, they are about using your brain (in particular the left side of your brain).  They are about your ability to perform a certain task. Careers that rely heavily on hard skills are Physicists, Mathematicians, Computer Programmers, Statisticians, etc.  What are your hard skills?

Attitude Adjustment Assignment #1:  Identify Your Hard Skills

Take out your notebook and write down all the skills you can think of that relate to you.

I am an expert in  (specialty):  _____________.

People come to me (I am the ‘go-to’ person) for:  _______________.

I am known for the following skills: ___________________________________________________

Soft Skills

tightropeSoft skills are more difficult to quantify. These skills are personality qualities, habits, attitudes, and even social graces. Unlike hard skills, which can be evaluated by a logic intelligence test (IQ), soft skills tend to use your heart, and conversely would be evaluated by an emotional intelligence test (EQ).  This is ‘right brain’ stuff.  Some examples of soft skills would be: anticipating risk, motivating others, teamwork, innovating, listening, communicating.  They are things that you learn, hone, and improve over a life time of trial and error.

People skills, management skills, communications, leadership, politics, are all soft skills.  You can take classes in how to develop these skills, but it is your innate personality that will ultimately determine which ones you excel in and your ability to apply what you have learned to different situations over time.  Unlike hard skills where the rules pretty much are static (for example, the Waterfall Application Development Method), soft skills are dynamic and change based on the situation to which they need to be applied.  For example, you could do a great job communicating technical status to your team, but a poor job communicating project progress to your executive management.  When the audience changes, your must change how you are communicating accordingly.

What are your soft skills?

Attitude Adjustment Assignment #2:  Identify your Soft Skills

Look at the list of 28 soft skills below and pick out 5 or 10 that you feel are your top soft skills.  Put them in an order from strongest to weakest.

(The list is adapted from: List of 28 Soft Skills – Business Professionals, June 2, 2011, Career Success – Ask A Wharton MBA)

  1. Self awareness – knowing what drives, angers, motivates, embarrasses, frustrates, inspires you
  2. Emotion management – being able to control unexpected emotions like anger and frustration so you can think clearly and at your optimum.
  3. Self-confidence – those who believe in themselves have access to “unlimited power” (wisdom from KungFu Panda)
  4. Stress management – Being able to stay calm and balanced in stressful, overwhelming situations
  5. Resilience – Ability to bounce back from a misstep in your job or career
  6. Skills to forgive and forget – Ability to move on without baggage from a past mistake or something in your career that wronged you
  7. Persistence and Perseverance – Ability to overcome challenging situations and obstacles and maintain the same energy
  8. Patience – ability to step back in an emergency to think clearly or the ability to pause and wait when you are in a rush or want to rush others.
  9. Communication skills – skills to listen and articulate your ideas in writing and verbally to any audience in a way where you are heard and you achieve the goals you intended with that communication. This is also known as interpersonal communication skills
  10. Presentation skills – ability to maintain attention and achieve your desired outcome from presenting to an audience
  11. Facilitating skills – ability to coordinate and solicit well represented opinions and feedback from a group with diverse perspectives to reach a common, best solution.
  12. Interviewing skills – ability to sell your skills as an interviewee or accurately assess other’s ability or extract the needed information as an interviewer
  13. Selling skills – this is not just for people in sales.  This is the ability to build buy-in to an idea, a decision, an action, a product, or a service
  14. Meeting management skills – at least 50% of meetings today in corporate america are a waste of time.  This is the skill to efficiently and effectively reach productive results from leading a meeting
  15. Influence / persuasion skills – ability to influence perspective or decision making but still have the people you influence think they made up their own mind.
  16. Team work skills – ability to work effectively with anyone with different skill sets, personalities, work styles,  or motivation level
  17. Management skillsability to motivate and create a high performing team with people of varied skills, personalities, motivations, and work styles.
  18. Leadership skills – ability to create and communicate vision and ideas that inspires others to follow with commitment and dedication.
  19. Skills in dealing with difficult personalities – Ability to work well or manage someone whom you find difficult
  20. Skills in dealing with difficult situationsAbility to stay calm and still be effective when faced with an unexpected difficult situation.
  21. Ability to think / communicate on your feet (under pressure) – ability to articulate thoughts in an organized manner even when you are not prepared for the question or situation you are in
  22. Networking skillsability to be interesting and interested in business conversations that motivates people to want to be in your network.
  23. Interpersonal relationship skillsability to build trust, find common ground, have empathy, and ultimately build good relationships with people you like or in positions of power/influence.
  24. Negotiation skillsability to understand the other side and reach a win-win resolution that you find favorably, satisfies both sides, and maintains relationships for future dealings
  25. Mentoring / coaching skills – ability to provide constructive wisdom, guidance, and/or feedback that can help others further their career development
  26. Organizing skills – ability to organize business gatherings to facilitate learning, networking, or business transactions
  27. Self-promotion skills ability to subtly promote your skills and work results to people of power or influence in your organization.  This will build your reputation and influence.
  28. Savvy in handling office politics – office politics is a fact of life in corporate america.  This is the ability to understand and deal with office politics so you can protect yourself from unfairness as well as further your career.
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On the flip side of the Mathematician is the Salesperson.  Someone who needs little schooling but a lot of personality.  They need to excel in persuasion, and the art of the deal.  They know how to sell themselves, on and off-line. But for most of us, our personal story will be a mix of both hard and soft skills.  I have had to balance my deep technical knowledge (hard skills), with the ability to handle clients, negotiate the win-win, and delivery with grace (soft skills).

Once you do your homework, we will take a look at how you can change-up your online profile to show off who you really are.

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

Are You Ready For Cyber Relations?

Credit: www.lakeshore.wnyric.org

The internet is a very social place (as if you did not know that already).  In a paper presented at the First International Conference on Cyberspace, in May 1990, two very expert social guys, Chip Morningstar and Randell Farmer, reported that cyberspace was defined more by the social interactions involved rather the technology being used.(1)  And this fact has not changed.  The social currency of the internet is the communications between real people and the central characteristic of using the internet is that it provides a place where people can affect and influence each other.  

That sounds a lot like ‘real’ life (versus internet life), doesn’t it?  We join physical community groups around town to make friends, help others, learn things, and business groups, to advance our careers and meet other like-minded individuals.  Joining a digital group is no different.  Life is all about relationships, physical AND virtual, and today you have more opportunities to relate to others than you ever had before. 

Successfully leveraging your virtual relationships in cyberspace are not much different from leveraging those physical relationships that you have created at your local homeowners association or your professional organization’s monthly meeting.  You get to know people one-on-one and you also get to discuss things in a group.

I am sure that there are people in your physical community that you admire. And maybe there is someone’s column you like to read in the newspaper or watch on television. Today, many of those people are sharing their thoughts and expertise on the internet as well.  So, the first step in your cyber-relationship training is to follow a few of those people to get to know them better.  You do this by following them on the internet in one or more social networks (like LinkedIn or Twitter) and ‘listening’ to what they are saying and doing.  You do not have to talk to them directly; you do not even have to interact; just ‘listen.’  (By ‘LISTEN,’ I mean to read what they say on your computer or smart phone, and to pay attention to their news feed, or blog, or tweets.  This way you can get a deeper sense of what is important to them.)

Attitude Adjustment Homework #1: Follow People.*  Follow a few people (whether on Twitter, LinkedIn, Connections, what ever your network of choice), whose updates may be of interest to you.  You can always ‘unfollow’ them later.

(*Do you need help in how to follow?  Write a comment to this post and I can give you quick steps.)

(Credit for image: Lumaxart at www.flickr.com/photos/lumaxart)Once you start following some people. the next step is to look at what groups/communities they belong to.  When you become part of a digital community, it gives you a view into the discussions of that group which can really open you up to a tremendous amount of information and knowledge that you might not get elsewhere.  You may be amazed at how much knowledge people share in these little discussion sessions.

Joining a few communities is a critical part of making the whole social internet thing work.

Attitude Adjustment Homework #2 : Join at least one GROUP or Community of Practice (on any social network site).

Attitude Adjustment Homework #3: Focus 10 minutes – 3 times this coming week on ‘listening’ and feel free to comment if you have something to say.

What will make the difference in your success in the social world are the conversations you have.  Moving from being a ‘local expert’ to ‘global digital expert’ takes active participation in conversations through social networks and on-line communities. Digitally, I rarely talk to just one client or colleague at a time.  I talk to multiple people simultaneously, across multiple time zones, all in real-time.   (The power is staggering, in a good way.)

I know that I have said this before but, an important thing about expertise is, if you don’t share it, what good is having it.  Expertise comes in the RELATIONSHIP of sharing the knowledge with others.

At first you may find it a little weird ‘stalking’ around and reading people’s status’ and such, but once you start doing it, you will realize that you are not only increasing your knowledge (because there are tons of really smart people out there doing really innovative and exciting things) but you are increasing your expert value, because you are one of them.

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

Endnotes

1. Morningstar, Chip and F. Randall Farmer. The Lessons of Lucasfilm’s Habitat. The New Media Reader. Ed. Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort: The MIT Press, 2003. 664-667. Print

Image 1 credit: www.lakeshore.wnyric.org

Image 2 credit: Lumaxart at www.flickr.com/photos/lumaxart

4 Steps To Decide What Social Network To Join

Today’s Digital Attitude Adjustment is focusing on building connections: connections to other humans via the internet.  Social connections are the currency by which you build your social reputation and ultimately, your digital eminence.  Out here in cyberspace, communication takes place in the form of written words, pictures, and videos.  These are your digital footprints, the path to you.

footprints

Building your online reputation all boils down to connecting with others.

No others = No reputation = No eminence.

What that means is you need to join and participate in at least one social network.

A common question I get asked is “What social network should I join?” and “Which social network would be right for me?”  I know it can be confusing so here are some thoughts to help guide you.

2973684461_8ecfb1dd10_zChart Credit Laurel Papworth  and Gary Hayes

* INVOLVE – listen to, live the social web, understand it, this cannot be faked
* CREATE – make relevant content for communities of interest
* DISCUSS – no conversation around it, then the content may as well not exist
* PROMOTE – actively, respectfully, promote the content with the networks
* MEASURE – monitor, iteratively develop and respond or be damned!

1.   Figure out who you want to connect with. (If you are a business, who is your audience?)

Ask what social media venues others in your organization or profession are using?  Different venues are good for different connections.  The leaders are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube.  They serve different purposes for different people, but, if I was starting today, I would join Facebook for personal and LinkedIn for business. Twitter is really good too, but not everyone was born to Tweet.

I think my personal history kind of parallels the growth of social media, so here is a little flash back.

I started my journey into social networks back in the 1970’s with Usernets and Bulletin Board Services (BBS).  They allowed me to chat with others through online forums. The conversations were not interactive, like we have today, but they were revolutionary for the time. 

In the 1980’s I moved to online services, CompuServe, Prodigy, and then America On Line (AOL).  At that time I also was starting to use Internet Relay Chat (IRC & IRQ)) services which developed into Instant Messaging. 

Then in 1997 I discovered a service called “Six Degrees.”  This was the first site that I can remember that actually let me have a profile. 

I think it took several years (or maybe I was busy working and raising a family) but about 2005 I joined a new venture called  MySpace (it was big for it’s time, but I would not bother with it today);

In 2006, I moved to Facebook (where I still play with my family and friends everyday, sharing status updates and pictures);

I joined Twitter when it was an egg (2007 or 08), but I am only just starting to Tweet on a daily basis (and watch all the knowledge that flashes by every moment of every minute of every hour – thanks to my new very social friend at Kenexa (an IBM company), Bruce Kneuer, Social Media Manager).

I have been a member of  LinkedIn since 2009, but , like many people, I thought it was only for job hunting, which is not true anymore, so I am using it much more (a shout out to Social IBMer Ben Martin, who has some great blog posts to help you use LinkedIn).

I started my pet blog,DogDaz, on Tumblr in 2010, but moved it to DogDaz on WordPress in 2011, which is a better platform for it.  I still do Tumblr but only go on to reblog the great pictures that people post.  

I ‘pin’ sometimes on Pinterest, but mostly I watch what my kids have on their boards.

I belong to several groups in LinkedIn, as well as other communities of practice I belong to, but am getting ready to pare down because I have to many.

 I am also active within my company, IBM, on our internal social space called Connections.

This of course is separate from all the email spaces that I use for the blogs, personal, and business (AOL, gmail, and Lotus Notes).  Oh Yeah, I do have a Google+ account but have not had the time to research it’s value for me yet. 

I tell you all this because, different venues serve different purposes. Now you are probably really confused, so read step 2 below.

2.  Do your research and experiment.

I joined different networks over the years, but only one at a time.  This way I could observe and listen for a while to see how the network worked, what was being discussed, and where I might want  to put my few precious comments.  If you do your homework in Step 1 above (What are other people you know using? What is your professional organization or business group communicating on?), you may get your answer quickly.  Like I said, the winners today usually are LinkedIn and Twitter if you want business like connections.

3.  Set goals and manage your time.

Social media can suck up all your time if you let it, so be clear about why you are using it and how much time you have to devote to the activity every day.  A timer really does work, so get one!  Twitter and Facebook demand more time to be active on than LinkedIn or Pinterest.  Be real with yourself about the time you will have to devote to the medium.

4.  Don’t spread yourself too thin.

You really have to prioritize what you are doing.  You do not need to be on every social network, and you do not have to use them every day.  It is better to be on only one social network and have good participation, then to be overwhelmed and not participate at all.

The only way you build your social reputation is by connecting through social networks. If you are not connected, you need to remedy that right now!   Without virtual connections, you basically are talking to yourself.  Sharing information without connecting is meaningless.

YOUR ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT HOMEWORK: GET CONNECTED

For a great exercise in connectivity and human relationship building check out “Leading With Intention,” a blog by Vicki Flaherty, a fellow IBMer..

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

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Don’t Add To My WorkLoad!

I have been thinking a great deal about how I live (aka: how I spend my time), and to be honest, I think I could use my time more wisely.  My goal is to use social media as a tool to replace work that I am already doing, not to add to my work load. I keep hearing that I need to work smarter, not harder.  Coming up with that equation is … a lot of work.

arg-fish-storyI read an interesting article by Clay Shirky, called “Gin, Television, and Social Surplus,” on WorldChanging, about the use of leisure time. He calls it ‘Social Surplus.’ Social surplus is “time we have when we are not doing paid work, our so called ‘leisure time.”  He says that years ago (20th Century), we spent time engaged in ‘consuming prepackaged media,’ like film and TV, and that now (21st Century) we devote our time to ‘producing and sharing.’ in addition to consuming.   Therefore, he defines the use of social media as a leisure activity.

accountantHe is part right, because most of the blogging and browsing and tweeting that I am doing is during my leisure time (my personal time).  I am doing a lot of business work in my ‘social surplus‘ time.  I am working harder and longer hours then ever before.  This had made me realize that I need to switch some of how I look at things, and some of how I work, because he is also wrong, not all of my social media use is personal, and therefore, not all ‘social surplus.’  For example, reading news is part work, part leisure;  IBM email, is all work; Twitter, is 90% work; Facebook, is 100% leisure; this blog, is work, but DogDaz.com blog is leisure.  It is clear that the lines between work and leisure (professional /personal), at least on the internet, have blurred with the advent of social media.  It is not about finding clear lines between the two, but about how I learn to work differently in another medium.  Luis Suarez is a perfect example,  He is the IBMer that gave up email and communicates only through social media for all his projects and communications.  I don’t sense that he is trying to figure out where his professional tweets end and his personal tweets begin (if you know what I mean).  Trying to keep the two worlds separate is a waste of time and energy.

Let’s look at what I might do differently to make this swap:

  • Instead of buying and reading newspapers, I am going to get my news headlines on my Twitter feed and Facebook (ie: BBC, CNN, NPR, local news).  I still like the Sunday paper though, so I am keeping that (or I won’t have anything to use when repotting plants).  If I want more than the headline, I can click on the link in the news feed.
  • I stopped randomly playing around on the internet to see what was out there a long time ago, because I think it was a big time waster for me.  Occasionally I still do like to nose around for entertainment and good books but I will be setting my timer to ensure I don’t get lost for hours (sometime I forget to go to bed).
  • I have not given up reading books or watching TV, but I have always limited TV to shows that I have recorded.  I need to be more choosy on the books, I guess, because my pile gets bigger and bigger.
  • When I have a business question and I need lots of input, maybe I can Tweet it, verses calling or Instant Messaging a million people?  That would really save time.  I really need to start leveraging the community of experts out there better.
  • $545E5FB844589F58I need to stop feeling guilty about using social media during work time.  This is a hold over for me probably because I have worked virtually for so many years and had to make sure I limited my use of the www outside of work to after hours. (I may be showing my age but who remembers the BOSS screen on the early computers?)  Those days are gone.  As long as I am using social media to do a better job, I think that it is something that is part of my job, and therefore, it is not ‘social surplus,’ but ‘SOCIAL NECESSITY’ (my term).

What are some ways you can think of incorporating social media into your routine by replacing something you already do in a different medium?   

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

What Are Your Reading This Weekend?

Sir Winston Churchill said, “So little time, so much to do,” but I must modify that to “…so much to read!”

girl_reading_school_book_sm_wht_31368I may be on the laptop for hours and hours reading articles and blogs and teleworking all day, but there is something about paper under my fingers, and walking into a real brick and mortar book store that just fills my heart. There are so many books that I have been wanting to read, so I thought I would go pick some up last night (literally).  Here is a list of several books, some which I have read, some I am reading, and some I am going to read this year.  I compiled this short list from personal experience and researched reviews to help on this journey to understanding self, brand, and how to take a place in relationship to the new social paradigm. I hope you add some to your stack and feel free to add some to mine.

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READ:

Dale CarnegieHow To Win Friends And Influence People: Written in 1936, I have my fathers original (he dated it 4-9-37). Dad was a dress salesman in New York City.  I have read this book a zillion times since I was young.  It still is one of the best business books you can read because it is all about the art of the relationship, the network, and good old communications. (Post script:  My Dad was born in NYC in 1912, and has been gone 15 years last month.  He went from nothing (literally) to owning his own dress manufacturing business in the ’50’s.  Thanks Dad for setting me in the right direction.)

Arbinger Institue – Leadership and Self Deception: I recently read this for a leadership class and I thought it was an interesting way to look at how we box ourselves into believing our own story (whether good or bad) and then swirl people around us into our own self deception.  A good airplane read that will make you look at your internal conversations and how they affect your relations to others.

Spencer Johnson – Who Moved My Cheese: This little story helps you look at how you deal (or don’t deal) with change.  Change is the only constant we know, but the only one that likes change is a baby, they scream for it.

Richard Bolles – What Color Is Your Parachute?: The first time I read this was in college in the 70’s.  I just had my step-daughter go buy the newest edition, since she just graduated college, and the self examinations and practical guidance is a great tool to help you hone in on what it is that you really would like to be doing for your career and what you are best suited for.  Self-knowledge is what the brand of you is all about.   This is a good starting point.

ON THE NIGHT STAND: 

Marshall Goldsmith – What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There:  This is really pushing me to look at how I take what I know up a notch.  I’ll let you know how it turns out when I am done.

Reid Hoffman – The Start Up of You:  On the night stand, waiting for me to finish “What Got You Here”

WAITING TO READ:

Seth Godin – Permission Marketing Turning Strangers Into Friends and Friends Into Customers

Malcolm Gladwell – The Tipping Point 

Simon Sinek – Start With Why 

Dave Kerpen – Likeable Social Media

Jim Collins – Good To Great

Partrick Lencioni – The Three Big Questions For A Frantic Family

Sheryl Sandberg – Lean In 

Ben Zander – The Art of Possibility

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Please let me know what you think, and comment with any adds and ‘don’t bother to reads.’ 

What are you reading this weekend?

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

Know Thy Self First

Finding the words to define one’s expertise is hard. There are now several pages in my notebook* filled with one or two-word descriptions of things that I believe that I am good at and things that I am an expert in.  After I wrote down all these words, I then took time to think about what I meant by each of them.  I call this deep thinking.

daily_planner_writing_md_wht(*About the Notebook: I told you to get a good notebook, right?  You really need to be writing this stuff down. I’m using a really nice bound journal but you could just steal one from your kid’s school supply stash.  Believe me, you need to have something to write all your Attitude Adjustment Activities in. Stop reading and go get paper and pen now!)

Building your personal brand is a mix of several things and expertise is a big part of it.  Until you know what you are good at, it is really hard to communicate it to others.  And the communication part is what social branding is all about.  You need to ask yourself:  What is it I am known for?  If I ask a colleague or acquaintance, what would they say I am an expert in?  Would they know my distinct point of view on a subject? (And a future thought: Is that what I want to be known for?)

Attitude Adjustment Homework #1:  On at least one sheet of paper, write down the answer to the question “I am ______________”

I am ….a change agent; innovator; caring; mentor; mother; teacher; project manager; driven…..  you get the idea.

Attitude Adjustment Homework #2:  Take some of your words and make a WORD CLOUD (its fun and helps you to visualize).  You can make your cloud at http://www.wordle.net/create.

Here is my word cloud:

wordle expertis

I wanted to understand what ‘expertise’ meant, so I researched it on the internet, but I was not happy with any of the definitions that I found.  The definition I like the best is actually one of ‘competencies,’ and it came from IBM‘s internal encyclopedia called ‘Bluepedia:’

“Competencies are comprised of a balanced and coherent mixture of know-how (skills), know-what (knowledge), know-why (relevant experience) and individual attitude.”

Let’s break that down: (1) know HOW, (2) know WHAT, (3) know WHY, and (4) ATTITUDE.  If you have those four elements of competency then you can definitely consider yourself an expert in an area.  That works for me.

Attitude Adjustment Homework #3: Check in with other people to see if they agree with your cloud of expertise and if they would add or delete anything.

animationfinalKeep up the good attitude.  See you next blog.

– Lorian

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

Attitude Adjmt Plan #1 – Defining Personal Brand

I am a Project Manager (PM) by profession, and as a PM, I like to make plans and work those plans to completion.  For me it is critical to have a plan, especially when you are working with something as big as crafting your digital eminence (it sounds like a big job to me).  I also find that having a plan with distinct milestones helps me keep to the task at hand, otherwise I could get overwhelmed by the whole process.  One of the ways that I have been successful with really complex programs is to break them down into little plans. Today I am working on the first steps and tasks to reach digital eminence: I will call it my ‘Attitude Adjustment Plan.’

Step 1 Defining My Personal Brand 

j0283864I must confess that I have actually been working this digital eminence thing for several months and it is not easy.  At the center of this whole eminence thing is a the PERSONAL BRAND.  Without knowing your personal brand you have nothing to focus on and nothing to be eminent in.  Your personal brand is “what you are known for.”  It is how you define yourself in the work world while highlighting the personal elements that uniquely tell the world what makes you special.

“Personal Branding links your passions, key personal attributes, and strengths with your value proposition, in a crystal clear message that differentiates your unique promise of value from your peers and resonates with your target audience.”Meg Guiseppi, Personal Branding Expert 

Focusing on myself makes me a little uncomfortable, it is not something I am used to doing, but I know that I will not get to where I need to go if I don’t, so here goes . . .

Homework

Task 1.  What is my vision and my purpose?  Before I can brand myself, I need to dig deep (introspection is tough but necessary), and understand what it is I want to be known for.  What practice or expertise is it that I am trying to build?  What kind of client relationships do I want?  And ask myself those hard questions about my purpose for doing all this.

Task 2.  What are my values and my passions?  This is the touchy-feely stuff.  I really have to understand what I stand for, my world view and my personal values, to be able to be real (aka: authentic) so that I can move forward.  To decide if an opportunity is a good fit for me, I really need to understand my operating principles, my personal belief system, my passions (those things that drive me) or I will not be happy ultimately.  (And, if Mommy is not happy, no one is happy!)

This homework may take a while.  Actually branding is probably something I will be working on for the rest of my life, so now is as good a time to start as any.

ARE YOU WITH ME?  This is the road to Digital Eminence, and remember we are doing it with a Digital Attitude!  If you have questions about your assignment just comment below.  Class is now in session.       

Today’s Links:

30 Terrible Pieces of Social Media Advice You Should Ignore

Leverage Social Media To Convey Your Expertise

Thanks for taking the journey with me.

digitalattitudesmall

See you in the Cloud – Lorian

(All views are my own)

Today’s Attitude: Baby Steps

womanatdesk.gifTruthfully, creating and maintaining personal digital eminence is a lot harder then I ever thought. Developing eminence for a product or service seems like a piece of cake compared to self promotion.  But wait… I am the product now.  I am “The Digital Attitude,” the brand called “Lorian.”

For those of you that are following along with my journey, I realize that there is a tremendous amount of work to do, so I am going to need to do it in baby steps.

My first 24 hour’s attitude adjustment included:

(1) Reading the following stuff; Luis Suarez’s Blog – ELSUA.net.  Luis is an IBMer and his main focus is living social and working without email (It’s a cool concept, don’t you think), and, I am reading everything I can find by Chris Brogan.com , a guru on everything social and successful author.

cropped-summer122.jpg(2) I spruced up my LinkedIn profile (more on how in a future post), including a new picture.    My LinkedIn Adviser, a wonderful British gentlemen named Social Ben (Ben Martin), told me that profile pictures look best with a BLUE TO WHITE GRADIENT background.  Blue says ‘trust’ and White says ‘purity.’ I don’t have a professional business picture and I could not find one with a light background, so I am hoping this one works for now.  I guess I may have to invest in a professional shot.

What do you think?  Would you trust that face? –>

(3) I have been learning a great deal about tagging and keyword control.  I plan on blogging about that very soon.  I went and tagged my profile with a whole bunch of relevant keywords so that people can search me better.  If people can’t find me based on key words, then my profile is kind of meaningless. (I looked at what some other people had on their profile to get an ideas.)

(4) I went and endorsed a few of my colleagues for their skills on LinkedIn, so that I can help them adjust their digital attitude a little too.

If I have any time before I go to sleep I am going to try and follow a few strategic leaders, like Ginni Rometty (remember I’m an IBMer), and start to comment on what she discusses (if I have something relevant to add).  Comments help you build more eminence day by day.  (I think I am getting the hang of this.)  I also am going to take a deep look at my lack of network connections on both LinkedIn and Tweeter.  (I have a lot of work to do.  I think this week, I will make an Attitude Adjustment Plan, so I know where I am going.)

Doing all this stuff really is starting to set me off balance with my work/life things, and I know there must be a smarter way to incorporate social into my schedule. Are you with me?  Are you starting to make an Attitude Adjustment Plan to build your digital eminence? Are there topics you think I should explore?

Thanks for taking the journey with me.

digitalattitudesmall

See you in the Cloud – Lorian

(All views are my own)

Taking Out The Digital Garbage

maidYears ago I used to Google myself (did I really just use Google as a verb?) every couple of months.  In those days, before Facebook and LinkedIn, all the good newspaper articles with my name in them and business highlights would come up at the top of the list.  Now I Google myself about once a week, and find that the Social Media sites (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook) and years of accumulated digital clutter have taken over the first page.  I don’t want to be defined by things like my local Homeowner’s Associate Newsletter just because it mentions my name 3 times and some search engine picked up the feed – that to me is DIGITAL GARBAGE.  Internet search engines go out and pick up every instance of my name, so what I get is a lot of stuff floating to the top that I don’t want seen first, if at all.  Have you Googled yourself recently?

Today’s digital attitude adjustment will be to figure out how to take out the digital garbage.  I want people to see the stuff I think is more important on top.  I am not sure how to go about this, but I will get back to you later and let you know what I have found.  There is a whole industry around this for businesses, but what about for simple, hard working stiffs like me?  Are there secrets for us regular people for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?  Controlling my personal information is important, but it seems almost impossible at times.

How do you take out your digital garbage?  Suggestions welcome. -Thanks

digitalattitudesmallSee you in the Cloud – Lorian

Living Social Doesn’t Make You Eminent

After so many years of living my life in the world of bleeding edge technologies, online networks, social communities, blogs, wikis, web sites and other elements of digital business, I was surprised today to be told that my Digital Eminence is weak and almost non-existent.  I realized that for so many years I have been busy living IN the social, that I neglected the actual care and feeding of my ‘social eminence.’

At first, I was miffed.  “Me?” I thought. Are they talking about the person who held one of the first IBM Holiday parties in Second Life (though my boss fell off the flying carpet and never did reappear until after New Years)?  “Me?” The colleague who organized a international virtual baby shower complete with games for all on line and physical presents at the expectant’s home (because teams were becoming so geographically disbursed and I knew that being together was going to need to be different)?  They couldn’t have missed the fact that I was one of the first people to move classroom material to e-learning, for wider reach and higher consumption?  Alas, they did, because, while I was so busy doing, I was not making sure that my work left a digital footprint.

Networking has always been important to build your eminence, but, in these digital times, documenting yourself electronically, through membership in social networks, virtual communities, writing blogs, publishing e-books, commenting on others forums, etc, builds a picture which is now highly prized.  Unlike a resume, which is a flat recitation of experiences, your digital footprint is dynamic.

I learned a valuable lesson today. Living social does not make you digitally eminent unless you tag your work in such a way that others can see you in it.

So how did you make your digital mark today?

digitalattitudeanimation    See you in the Cloud – Lorian