Dear President Trump

Dear President Trump,


First let me apologize for not writing sooner. It’s just one of those things where the best of intentions just doesn’t get it done. While important, this letter never seemed vital…until perhaps now. 

 

I was a big fan of your show The Apprentice. I didn’t always agree with your decisions on who should stay and who should go and the tasks could at times be a bit lame but the whole concept was like a Science Lab of what to do and what not to do when it comes to leadership. For that reason I found it fascinating.

 

I know it’s easy to say after the fact but I wasn’t the least bit surprised (well maybe a little) by your victory in November, winners win. That’s how it works in all walks of life, even in politics it appears. Clearly there are wide swaths of the American people who do not view you in a favorable light but however you’ve done it no one should continue to be surprised by your success. 

 

I really don’t know anyone, anywhere who wouldn’t describe the Presidency of The United States of America as the pinnacle of success. You sir have arrived! 

 

Which is why I, as a student of people and leadership, am so surprised to see you behave as if you’re an up and coming street fighter looking to get someone, anyone, to recognize their potential. You absolutely, positively, supercalifragilisticexpialidociously do not have to do that anymore.

 

There are clearly people in the media who would prefer to shape your message in such a way as to make you look deplorable. They are pretty good at it too, so good in fact that they certainly do not require your rather skilled assistance. 

 

Social Media in general, and Twitter in particular, was a very valuable tool for you during the election. It indeed allowed you to get your message “out there” in an unfiltered, direct, and unprecedented way. As effective as it can be in helping you stay connected as President to your fellow Americans it can also serve as a valuable weapon for your opponents to use against you. 

 

But they are shooting blanks unless you provide them with real ammunition, and that it seems is what you’ve been doing far too often. When you do that you descend from the pinnacle of success, from the highest office in the land, to the level of your opponents. You do not have to win a fight against the media, in fact you can’t win a fight because there is no fight, it’s over, you’ve already won.

 

The only way, the absolute only way you give credence to the things they say about you, true or not, is to respond to them. You may be hitting back “10 times harder” but half your blows are landing on you. I’ve thought long and hard about this and I just can’t think of a single benefit to you or the nation of you doing that. So don’t! 

 

You simply cannot build America up by tearing down your fellow Americans, it does not work that way. You lead all Americans Mr. President, whether they voted for you or not, whether they like you or not, and whether they want to be led by you or not and disparaging those you lead doesn’t work either. Never has, never will. 

 

Don’t stop tweeting Mr. President, just stop tweeting the trash talk. Tweet about your successes, tweet about your challenges, tweet about where and how the public can help you, just don’t tweet negative stuff about the people you lead. Even if it’s true there is no benefit to anyone in doing it.

 

As we Americans celebrate our freedom this week I urge you to think of all of our fellow Americans who have sacrificed their very life to protect the freedoms we enjoy. It is they who provide us with the continued right of free speech. You sir, as do all Americans, have the right to say pretty much whatever you want but I’d encourage you to consider this: having the right to do something doesn’t make it right to do. 

 

In my humble opinion Mr. President you can best honor those fallen heroes by honoring the office which you now hold. Honor it by being your best self. Honor it by being the role model of American values and ideals. Mr. President there is simply no way to make America great again by damaging the principles by which we have stood for all these years. 

 

Let your protagonists try to provoke you but do not be provoked. Rise above the fray, they cannot fight you if you don’t join the fight. Find the courage to no longer engage them in battle. 

 

Work everyday for every American, even those who today may hate you. Their hate is their problem not yours. The hater always loses more than the hated; do them a favor and be the President who is impossible to hate. 

 

You’ve got a long way to go to make that happen but if you’re up for it then it shouldn’t really be a problem for you. After all, you’re in the business of surprising people. 

 

It’s called leading Mr. President pure and simply. As President of the United States leading is not a part time job. Everything you say and do either adds to or subtracts from your ability to truly lead. That’s everything Mr. President, absolutely positively everything

 

Every American, even those who didn’t vote for you, even those who loathe you, need you to succeed. They may be so filled with hate that they can’t see that today but that doesn’t diminish the fact. The American people need you to lead. Everyday, all day.  

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter, I hope you’ll find some guidance in it that will help you as you continue to work for all of us. May God bless you Mr. President and may God bless America. 

 

Your fellow American, 

 

Steve Keating


Social Leadership

I’m a big fan of employee surveys. I like employee surveys because I like predictable things and few things in business are as predictable as the results of an employee survey. Anyone with a decent EQ can spend a week or so inside a company talking with employees and predict the results of your typical employee survey with reasonable accuracy. 

If you’re unfamiliar with EQ it is an individual’s ability to understand other people, what motivates them and the ability to work cooperatively with them. Psychologists generally agree that among the ingredients for success, IQ counts for roughly 10-25% and the rest depends on everything else, especially EQ.

Here is a very general statement but I think it is fairly accurate: most people in leadership positions have at least a decent level of EQ.

They just aren’t social enough to use it.

To be a Social Leader requires that the leader be “out there” with the people they lead. They need to constantly take the pulse of their people. Social Leadership provides the leader with insights that no survey will ever provide them. 

It gives them insight and awareness to how their people will react to organizational change by understanding what is important to them and what motivates them. Social Leadership gives the leader an opportunity to develop the empathy to understand their people’s attitudes towards organizational issues and provides a clear line of sight to the team member’s points of view. 

The trouble with surveys is that they are typically an annual “event” and because of that they measure nothing more than a moment in time. People’s responses are affected by their emotions of the moment and because of that the survey results are of limited value. There was certainly a time when annual surveys where considered “state of the art” for HR professionals but that time has passed. 

Direct downward social interaction is the new “best practice.” Social Leaders use technology to get themselves “out there” like never before. They use Facebook, Twitter and Blogs to inform their people of what’s happening and get instant feedback from their followers. I’m obviously a believer in those tools but nothing, nothing, will ever beat face-to-face human interaction. So along with those tools I urge Social Leaders to conduct daily “innerviews” with a member of their organization. To be clear, this is not an interview of the kind you would do when selecting a new employee. This is an INNERview, a conversation to determine the thoughts, mood and morale of an individual team member. It’s about a 5 minute process where with a few thoughtful questions the Social Leader gains a perspective about their organization that cannot be gained any other way. Social leaders pick one individual a day from their organization and have a learning conversation.

Now I’ve shared the innerview concept long enough with countless numbers leaders to know the most common reason leaders give for not using it. “I don’t have time” is the usual objection. It’s the same reason many leaders give for not taping into social media to connect with their people. 

Think about that, these are the same leaders who would proudly say that “their people are their greatest asset.” In the next breath they say they “don’t have” 5 minutes to invest with their greatest asset to determine how they are doing. 

It not hard to become a more Social Leader, it simply requires a commitment to invest a piece of yourself and a bit of your time in your people. It’s one of the few investments you will ever make that has a guaranteed return. It’s a return that makes leading not only easier but more fulfilling as well. 

Are you willing to make the investment to become a Social Leader? 

Should You be Reading This?

20120812-185949.jpgYes this, should you be reading this blog? I wish more people would read my blog. I wish more people would read my tweets. But that’s just me.

In reality, it’s possible that this or any other blog just might be a complete waste of your time. In fact, it’s possible that the whole “Social Media” thing might be one gigantic waste of time.

It might be, but it doesn’t have to be. Social Media is like everything else in your life, it’s more productive if you have a plan and an objective for using it.

Here’s an idea for you, I’ll tell you right now you’re likely not going to like it, but it will be very informative for you. Keep a time-log for a week or even just a few days. Log how many minutes or heaven forbid, how many hours, you spend each day on various forms of social media. BE HONEST!

You are the only judge as to what is the “right” amount of time. Once you have an honest answer as to how much time you’re spending on Social Media then recall your life before Social Media. What did you do with that time then?

Was it a better use of your time? Did you spend the time in real conversations with people face-to-face? Did you procrastinate less? Did you accomplish more at work? Did you worry less about “having so much to do?”

No one but you can answer those questions. I can however, encourage you to answer those questions honestly for yourself. Keeping a time-log for a few days will help you do that. It’s so easy to burn an hour or two on Facebook or Twitter that a whole morning can get away from you. Your time-log will prove to you how often that happens.

Once you really know how much time your spending on Social Media then and only then can you begin to determine if it’s worth the time you’re committing to it. Once again, be honest with yourself. What do YOU get from it? How does it help YOU?

This is YOUR call, only you can say for sure if it’s worth your time. Only you can measure your Social Media ROI. Your ROI (return in investment) will be determined by your plan and objective for Social Media. If your objective is to just burn several hours a day then you should be able to reach your objective rather easily.

If you use Social Media to learn from other people then you must be able to state what you learn and how you USE it. Somehow I feel the need to mention that honesty thing again here…

If you’re using Social Media to sell then you should be able to measure what you’ve sold that you wouldn’t have sold if you weren’t online. Honestly?

There are many uses for Social Media and I could go an and on but I think you get my drift.

Social Media can add value to your life or dilute the fullness of your life. It depends on how you use it. I’d be a knucklehead to think I have any idea of the “right” way for you to use it, it’s a very individual decision. I can however, tell you there is a right way and that means there must be a wrong way too.

You need to know the difference.

 

Is Your Mom on Twitter?

20120812-185949.jpg

I heard a discussion on the radio the other day about the “marketability” of many of the top Olympic athletes. Some of the top medal winners (or earners as I prefer to call them) stand to make millions off their accomplishments.

I think that’s just fantastic, contrary to what some say, I think that people should be rewarded for their sacrifices and efforts.

What surprised me was a comment from a “media expert” about how much certain statements made on social media from some of the athletes would “cost” them.

They (or their mothers) posted stuff about their personal lives, their feelings and thoughts about their teammates or competitors or just said stupid stuff in general.

It’s as if they thought they were writing in their personal journal. It’s as if they thought their words didn’t matter. It’s as if they thought that no one would notice, even though they were in the middle of the worldwide athletic stage.

As a result of their tweets and Facebook posts they could potentially lose millions in endorsements and various product deals. But hey, they got to tell the world about their sex lives so they have that going for them.

Most people don’t have to be concerned about what they post on social media. It not like anyone who matters reads that stuff. Right?

Wrong!

Mark Twain said a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes. Well a tweet or a post is a whole lot faster than that. Once posted, you lose control of the images of the “one fun of night.” Once posted, your words can float around the web forever.

Think before you post!

People that matter DO read what you write. They also look at the pictures you post. Most HR people at least glance at your social footprint before or during the interview process. Do you really want them seeing and reading stuff you would never tell a prospective employer? Remember, your credibility is affected, good or bad, with every single post or tweet.

Think before you post!

Is your mom on Twitter or Facebook? You would be wise to post as if she were and to assume she sees every word and every picture. If you would be embarrassed if your mom saw it then don’t post it cause she just might. A thoughtless, mean spirited or embarrassing post might not cost you millions but it just could cost you something much more valuable. Once gone, regaining your credibility is awfully hard to do.

Think before you post!