Cris: There's not a lot of patience nowadays. Everyone expects the overnight success, instant gratification. How do you explain patience and process in the midst of that?
Sam Shriver, Senior Vice President at The Center for Leadership Studies: I think leaders in all eras have had challenges of different kinds.
In years past it was waiting on the world to change. Change took a long time, and it was difficult to see results. Now, you're right, it's almost like there's too much information, and there's too much change, and everybody wants everything right now.
A challenge that leaders face is spending time, up front, making sure we know where we're going, and we know what we're doing. And really setting expectations around the idea that this is going to take some time.
If you're throwing a steak on the grill, that's different than if you're slow cooking a brisket. It's ready when it's ready. Hang in there. We want to make sure that it's good, not that it's on your plate at a predetermined time.
I think it is absolutely a leadership challenge to manage a lot of that instant, right now, response mentality.
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Cris: Okay. What have been the advantages of being yourselves and just saying "Look, this is who we are."?
Will Hardison of Fanbase: What other people tell me is that we're very approachable, very likable. That's one thing that I tell people when I go do keynote talks: If you're not likable, you can forget it. People have to like you to do business with you.
And I do tell clients, "Hey, we're going be serious, but let's also have some fun."
If you've got an issue or if there's something that we need to resolve, I'm not going to make a joke about it. I'm going to go get it done. I'll be serious when I need to be serious.
But 90 percent of the time we like to have fun with our work. I think that's really helped too because we're not pretending to be somebody that we're not.
Some people have actually said, "You're not going to get the big clients by being that way."
And I responded, "Maybe, but maybe not." We work with Research Triangle Park and we joke and have fun with them all the time. They're our biggest client. At the core of it, they want to be people, too.
Every single time I talk to clients and get to know them more on a friend level, they all say the same thing, "We hate working with stuffy people."
"College care packages have been around forever. We wanted to be different than what is already out there. We wanted to find newer, trendier, lesser-known brands. Rather than send a box of the same potato chips and cookies they can buy at any store, we wanted to find things that were just a little bit newer, a little bit different." - Lynn Holdsworth of TetherBox
Admittedly I don't understand the appeal of live video on social media. And it is not just because most live videos are really boring.
I love DVRs and the ability to watch shows when it is convenient for me. I don't want to go backward. I don't want to schedule my day around when someone else is broadcasting. And live video on social media is kind of a step backward.
Right now live videos are being made not because people have something interesting to say or to show but because the various social media algorithms show favoritism to live videos. And people like to see those reach numbers increase.
Thus ever more content is being released that is not intended to engage people but to engage lines of code within a computer somewhere.
Before the Internet, I would dig for interesting reading about musicians in newspapers, magazines, and books. I was curious about the stories behind their songs, what their writing process was like, what they did differently from other musicians, etc. Sometimes it was in a cover story and sometimes you really had to search for cool material.
Now we have the Internet and social media. Each band has its own online magazine.
And I have to work even harder to find interesting reading about musicians.
Because most musicians don't post about their music or what they have learned. Instead they just post about what they are wearing, what they are eating, and photos of highway exit signs.
And the same thing is happening in the business world.
Cris: From what I've read about your company and the training you do, leadership isn't always on a grand scale. It is not just a company's CEO who demonstrates leadership. It can be someone within a company, or within a group within a company.
Sam Shriver, Senior Vice President at The Center for Leadership Studies: That's a big piece of what we do. We define leadership as an attempt to influence. First off, leadership is multi-directional. It is not just top down.
Leadership includes that, but it also includes peer influence and upward influence. It's pervasive. It's what you do at work, it's what you do at home, it's what you do in your social setting. Anytime you're attempting to influence the behavior of another person, you're attempting to lead. That's the ballpark that we play in.
I think, at least in our circles, that we're really changing the paradigm around which leadership is viewed. You want people coming into your company, saying, "Here's how this could be better. This is how this works. This is what it looks like."
In many cases, creativity and really new, fresh ideas, that's where they come from.
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There is a lot of hatred being expressed online. Here in America it has become one of the national pastimes, right up there with baseball and Type 2 Diabetes.
Fear of this hatred seems to keep some bands and businesses from posting anything more in depth than "Sometimes I'm in the mood soup." It is the online equivalent of being simultaneously out in public and in the Witness Protection Program.
Unfortunately this strategy does not do much for building an engaged, interested following. Although it might be of help to the soup industry.
The more I learn about social media stats, the more I think you should not pay attention to them. Yes, I get excited when a post gets a lot of likes, comments, and shares. I'm sure there is a dopamine connection there. But when you make big numbers the primary goal (or tragically the only goal), you become a slave to that platform's algorithm and your post quality takes a nose dive.
Yes, a great post can get great stats. But a great post can also get poor stats. A great post that really resonates with someone and convinces him or her to spend money on you sometimes gets amazingly weak stats. And sometimes a post that gets great numbers does nothing for you.
If you want to post something silly, that's fine. But do it because it reflects who you are or what your business is about. Don't do it to make some algorithm happy.
I know bands comprised of interesting, intelligent people. But they post dumb stuff that has nothing to do with their music or who they are because the dumb stuff gets bigger numbers.
However, if I told them to stop writing their own music and just cover Taylor Swift songs, they would be offended. And yet, if they just care about big numbers, they should just do Taylor Swift songs.
Many people are scared to share what they know on social media. They worry that others will steal this knowledge, those ideas. However, the best ideas require work, patience, and perseverance. To most people, those things are more frightening than a clown carrying a bloody ax. This brings the odds of theft happening way down.