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Archive for November, 2012

Nov
27

Beauty and Collaboration Through Technology

A friend just sent me a very lovely thing the other day.  It’s a ‘virtual choir’ performance of Water Night, a piece of music composed and conducted by Eric Whitacre.

What’s a virtual choir, you might ask?  In this case, it’s over 3,000 people from all over the world, each recording his or her part of the piece individually.  Then the individual voices are edited all together to form a musical whole.  Whitacre sent out an instructional video beforehand, first offering performance information (insights and direction about tempo, expression, style, diction, etc.), then conducting the piece for each singer to use as a guide in recording his or her part.

It’s an amazing accomplishment overall, and there are many wonderful individual stories contained in the creation of it, as well. A women whose village in Africa didn’t have internet spent two days downloading Whitacre’s conducting onto her cell phone. A man whose eyesight had deteriorated to the point where he could no longer see a regular conductor was able to sit close to the screen and blow up Whitacre’s image enough to follow his conducting. A woman who sat in hospice holding her mother’s hand while she recorded her part.

And the result is spine-tingling gorgeous, both aurally and visually. In the video, the thumbnails of the thousands of singers build into  a wall of faces before Whitacre as he conducts and as the haunting harmonies develop.

How marvelous that we can use technology not only to do things faster, better, cheaper – but to create new kinds of beauty, as well.


Nov
19

To All My Charming Gardeners

I just got a wonderful Thanksgiving message from a woman I know only on LinkedIn  – her name is Sheryl Brown, and she’s a member of our Leading So People Will Follow Group.  She sent a heartfelt Thanksgiving communication, thanking all the recipients (folks to whom she’s connected on LinkedIn) for their efforts, and for their positive impact on her life.  I loved the specificity and genuineness of her message – it wasn’t just “thanks for being you”; Sheryl clearly spent some time and thought thinking about what her LinkedIn connections do that makes her life better.

And she started out her post with this marvelous quote:

“Let’s be grateful for those who give us happiness; they are the charming gardeners who make our soul bloom.”

                                          – Marcel Proust

Her post, and that quote, have inspired me to thank all the ‘charming gardeners’ in my life:  I’m surrounded by so very many people who support and catalyze my happiness.  Every day, you – my family, friends, colleagues and clients –  inspire me with your affection, kindness, clarity, and hopefulness.  You remove obstacles for me and others; you cheer  my accomplishments and commiserate with my mistakes.  You allow me to see myself more clearly.  You help me – and you let me help you.

I know that I couldn’t be who I am or do what I do without the love and support of those around me.

So thank you.  And in this season of giving thanks, may all the ways in which you support others come back to you in generous measure.


Nov
14

Talking About Leadership

I know I’m probably not supposed to say this – it’s kind of like saying you prefer one of your children over another – but just between you and me, Leading So People Will Follow may be my favorite of the books I’ve written so far.  I’m so much enjoying talking about it with people – especially the folks who have been interviewing me recently, around the book’s publication.  People are asking such interesting questions – we’re having such good conversations about the nature of leadership, and how people can get to be better leaders.

Yesterday a friend and client was asking me why I like this topic of leadership so much.  I realized that it’s because the idea of leading, and what it means to lead, is right at the heart of my own personal mission of helping people become what they want to become. So many people want to be leaders – not just to have formal jobs leading others, but to be people who can guide, direct and influence others in a variety of professional and personal settings.

I suspect that you might be one of those people – and so I hope you find these interviews useful and interesting:


Nov
5

Phil Gerbyshak (And Others) Tell the Naked Truth

My friend Phil Gerbyshak has put together a great little e-book to do some useful myth-busting in the realm of social media. It’s a collaborative effort, called The Naked Truth of Social Media, and includes contributions from Brian Clark, Jason Falls, Erika Napoletano, and several others. It’s both fun and practical (a great combination). Here’s a little quote, from Phil himself, to whet your appetite:

My clients often tell me, “I’m afraid to use Twitter (or any other social network). Can you teach me the right way?”
My answer: “No, but I can make sure you don’t do it the wrong way.” Allow me to briefly explain.
If all you’re doing is broadcasting your specials, shouting that people need to click on your links and buy your crap, then you are doing social media wrong!

The Naked Truth feels like an informal, no-sacred-cows conversation among friends – they don’t always agree, but it’s great to hear everyone’s point of view. Curious? You can find it here.