Valerie Chernek PR & Social Media – www.valeriechernek.com

kite in the windA few years ago, I wrote an article for the National Center of Technology Institute about three amazing women. They were a technologist, an educator and a disability coach, and were highly competent in their respective fields. And they were champions of disability issues. Each had a common goal: to develop a simulation program that would revolutionize how children with cognitive disabilities learned social skills.  My interview was based on the “Art of Collaboration” and it focused on how these women had the keen insight to develop and leverage mutual trust and respect for each other’s talents. Today, this insight is coined Emotional Intelligence. 

Fast forward to 2013 and this cutting-edge topic is popping up in popular books, (think Daniel Pink) discussed in leadership trainings (think Adizes), and ranks high in relevant conversations among executives in the board room to employees in the lunch room.  Why? Because smart leaders and individuals realize that they not only need to transform the workplace but also the workforce to keep up the pace with an ever-changing world.

Emotional Intelligence (EI), often measured as an Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ), describes an ability, capacity, or skill to perceive, assess, and manage the emotions of one’s self, of others, and of groups. In 1995, Daniel Goleman, a psychologist from Rutgers University, introduced his first book, Emotional Intelligence (Bantam Books). This book discusses human competencies, such as self-awareness, self-discipline, persistence, empathy and trust, as being as important, if not more important, than a person’s traditionally-defined IQ. Since that time, he has written a series of books on the topic that have enhanced the concept and its application to various endeavors.

Trusting Talent

Today’s start-ups need to find substantial funds to develop a product, launch it and keep it alive in the noisy digital world.  This is not an easy task, but the women I interviewed made it look easy. In our conversations, we talked about how emotional intelligence factored into their collaboration. They identified similar success traits to those expressed in Goleman’s theory:

  • a journey of passionate stakeholders who strive to bring out the best in each other
  • great amounts of empathy and a high degree of respect for individual talent
  • a true desire to leave a lasting imprint on a person’s spirit

Really, in the workplace of today, leaving a lasting imprint on a person’s spirit?  Has this happened to you recently?  How did these intelligent, compassionate and fun-loving professionals rise above their competitive egos? They saw a calling, a purpose, a social good and wanted to dive in, tackle the problem and solve a need.

At their first encounter, one of them said that she was in awe of the other’s professional accomplishments. They knew little about each other’s values and character at that time and, although in awe, trust is not something easily earned. During the project, each woman contributed various talents and resources.  They “breathed” teamwork and trust and believed that they possessed the right combination of skills, knowledge and fortitude to accomplish their mission. They were an undeniable force that kept moving forward in a positive direction.

A Moving Force

Each time the project changed directions, so did they.  A great sense of humor helped them get through the hard spots. They let down their guard and allowed information and ideas to flow. They brainstormed and revised their plan to hold tight through the glitches. Without their EI qualities, their challenges might have seemed insurmountable, but they held to these 6 ideals surrounding their unique perspective:

  1. Vision creates the project’s framework; passion holds it together.
  2. Collaborators use humor and stamina to carry them through.
  3. Collaborators know what they don’t know and what they need.
  4. Collaborators chip in when the reality of tasks become burdensome.
  5. Collaborators rely on living discussions to keep projects flowing.
  6. Above all, mutual respect and trust outweigh unsettling moments in time.

Through the activities of these early edtech/disability pioneers, who believed reliance on each other and mutual trust was the genesis to a successful project, they achieved great things.  They understood synergy. They respected each other’s knowledge, character and commitment. They produced a valuable contribution to society while creating lasting friendships.

These are the individuals that any company, organization or community would want on their team. How can you raise more awareness about EI in your workplace or for yourself? I welcome your comments!

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Valerie’s website http://www.valeriechernek.com

In social media, sparks fly fast to spot like-minded prospects and new potential revenue streams when smart biz owners work closely with their digital marketers.  What should they discuss?  The best/worst characteristics of a lifetime customer.  This is a social media strategy that leverages traditional and online marketing.  It plays an important role in recognizing early adopters, potential new customers  and the rainmakers.

Gathering customer data is fairly simple.  This presentation from Harvard Business Review describes a textbook case of how to measure lifetime value. The tool, however, lacks what to do next.  Here are ideas to evolve your marketing outreach:

  • Target users with an eye toward viral
  • Transform habits and identify behavior patterns
  • Design landing pages for quality lead generation
  • Personalize contextual messages
  • Create effective product launches and media presentations
  • Listen to chatter with an “eye and ear” toward lifetime value in your buying cycle

A good social media marketer listens intently.  They formulate responses, have relevant discussions, react carefully, reward behavior and follow up.  Knowing your best customer characteristics and integrating “active listening” in social media can ramp up intelligence fed to your marketing, sales and development teams.  The responsibility is accomplished with intelligence and intuition, so the person you choose knows how to plan for success using customer data, monitoring discussions, interpreting dialogue, and recommending ideas to keep prospect pipelines open – which can lead to increased revenue, customer loyalty and lifetime value — priceless in a company’s long term.

Follow Your Rainmakers!

rain“Crowdsourcing” is a big topic for today’s digital marketing managers who want to tap into the collective intelligence of a target audience, i.e. people who have opinions and are “not” your employees.  These like-minded individuals or groups can take your brand, product or service more viral than you ever imagined.  The task is not easy.  It takes time, thoughtful planning, team work and great communication skills.  It is “not” a 9 to 5 job and not just anyone can do it well.

Smart social marketers start with targeted goals.  They match their audience to the social channels that make the most sense.  They listen and engage and use images to stir emotion.  They create memories, start a conversation, and evoke controversy.  They ask for feedback and if they are really good — they find the rainmakers.   Rainmakers are those folks who will respond to your brand –and advocate for a cause.     They may be your next guest blogger, a local conference presenter or someone who reveals a great customer success story.  Rainmakers are the big benefit of crowdsourcing because they are the connectors and can activate the tipping points (Malcolm Gladwell) that make your product, service or company bigger and better.  Crowdsourcing activities can also help you:

  • Develop a new product (in less time)
  • Gather testimonials and stories for future PR outreach
  • Increase customer loyalty through give-aways, contests or games
  • Turn prospects into customers without any traditional selling efforts

If you are planning to integrate this important social marketing strategy into your mix, don’t scatter the responsibility — it doesn’t work!

A skilled social media or digital marketing specialist likes to “listen” to the networks.  They can determine what channels make the best sense to maximize company goals and they should continually suggest ideas that will help your marketing, PR and sales teams leverage the right mix of activities that build lasting relationships and increase recurring revenue.