Walking the talk

I am convinced and I’ve said so for the last three years. The key factor in participating in social media, in fact the only true way to really leverage the full power of social networks is through COLLABORATION.

If you do not bring anything to the table, if you do not add value to others, you will never really know the true benefit of joining the conversation.

You might be a great strategist and may take advantage of a few opportunities, you may even get a job or get invited to an event or even establish good relationships with interesting people that might turn valuable to you, but if you are just trying to take from your network instead of adding value to others, you are just not participating of the conversation.

Collaborating and being part of the conversation it’s something that if truly done with a real interest of adding value, transcends the on-line space of Social Media to be transform into real benefits in the off-line space: education, knowledge, fun, friendship, success and more.

That is exactly what we were able to see last week at the IAB Conecta 09 Conference in Mexico City, where we able to share, collaborate and learn from great personalities who brought their knowledge and experience to this event that for the fourth year in a row surpassed its success in previous years.

Plus we had the presence of other personalities like Joe Krump, Randall Rothenberg, Carlitos Páez, Joseph Jaffe, Mitch Joel and Chris Brogan, who really walked their talk and shared their knowledge and insights with over 700 people who were there with a common goal: learn, share and join the conversation.

There may be a sarcastic critic like the one who approached me during the conference to say “they are here because they are getting paid to speak”. The reality is, yes they do. To some of them public speaking is their main source of income; but the value that you get from sharing time with such talented folks from whom to absorb so much knowledge certainly is worth a whole lot more than what we can pay them.

I think Chris Brogan said it best when he mentioned: “Sharing your knowledge, your experience and your ideas, freely and without waiting to get something in exchange, allow our ideas to grow, they expand and transcends to a whole new plane you didn’t even thought possible; and it gets there because you shared”.

Now, sit in your favorite chair, relax and watch the great conversation I had with Chris last week. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


Some great advice

Last week we got very good news from a close friend, he is about to embark on a new professional adventure. He decided to accept an offer to join one of the most important organizations in the country occupying a very important position there.

A very well deserved position might I add; in fact I don’t think there could be a better candidate for it.

We spent some time talking about his new challenges and great opportunities ahead, we share some advice and recommendations, and after such good conversation I kept thinking about the kind of advices I would have liked to get too… So I decided to share a brief list in here:

1- Know your team mates as if they were your family, there will be days where you’ll spend more time with them than with your actual one.

2- Strive to comprehend what really moves and motivates each member of your staff. Understand that not everyone gets excited over the same things and specially that not everybody works just for money. Give meaning to their work.

3- Spend time with them; don’t stay all day inside your office. Work hand in hand with your team but don’t do their work for them.

4- Show how much you really respect your team by empowering them, sharing responsibility and letting them make their own decisions and act accordingly.

5- Celebrate their mistakes. Make sure they are not afraid of making mistakes, this way they will always be trying to do more.

6- Make the right decisions for the right reasons. Always try to do what’s right for the organization and for your team, don’t just do what you think will be the popular thing with your bosses and peers.

7- Never impose your position, rather create a vision that is aligned with the interests and mission of the organization that everyone can follow passionately.

8- Never feel that you are above your team. They are not your employees; in any case it is you who works for them.

9- Understand that you don’t need to be always right or know more than the rest. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses do the same with your team mates and let everybody bring their abilities to the table to strengthen the team.

10- Do not abuse your title. The name in your presentation card does not make you more important or better than the rest. It just means that you have more responsibilities and that you depend more on others.

11- Remember LEADERSHIP means:











No doubt all are good advice, but actually one of the best advices I’ve heard lately is one that precisely my friend shared with me: “No matter what you do, always remember you have a board of directors to report to: your family.

Picture credit: Frank-Chimero


Your success, your obstacle.

It happens and it happens often. I’ve seen it in friends and colleagues and on the mirror as well.

We work day in and day out on perfecting our trait, we pour our soul into our work and become specialists, experts and in some cases, even some sort of authority or point of reference.

Good for us! But then what?

Of course there is nothing wrong with being successful or being the best at what we do, on the contrary, we should always aim to excel at it. However we often forget to excel at something else: controlling how arrogant we may become after a certain amount of success. And that is just plain wrong.

Granted, it is sweet to be successful. It’s great to have our efforts recognized. And to listen to the sugar coated compliments from other people feeds our ego.

But I insist, what then?

Once we reached our mountain top we need to recognize that we have two options: rejoice in our success, loose focus and fall down or savor it for just a few moments and fix a new horizon and start walking towards it.

And to do this, it is essential that we understand that success has different forms and it is not just in the form of power, material belongings, money or titles; and that, what it’s important to us, might not be so much for others.

We must be humble and make time to learn and identify our greatest strengths and weaknesses.

We need to recognize that our greatest strengths exacerbate our biggest weaknesses.

Nobody is perfect. The fact that you are a great creative does not mean you are a great strategist. If you are great at production you might not necessarily be great at creativity. If you are a Math guru you actually might not be good at explaining it; and if you are an excellent manager it does not mean you are great leader.

Don’t let your greatest strengths turn you blind in front of what you need to improve. Recognize what your weakness is and reinforce it by surrounding yourself and partnering with people who are as good at what you lack as you with your ability.

Admit you are not everything, that you need help from others and that you need to collaborate with them. Open yourself to the possibility of participating with others and let them share their experience with you. You don’t always have to try and prove you are better than the rest.

Picture credit: Redjotter


Chose your beans.

Author’s note: there is an old saying in Spanish that goes “En todos lados se cuecen habas” which in English means “You can boil beans anywhere” and it’s equivalent to sayings like “We all have our skeletons in the closet”.

“The neighbor’s grass is always greener” is a very common phrase that we hear and say very frequently.

We see how other people live their life, their family, their job, their title, their salary, their schedule, their boss, their benefits and how well they get along doing whatever it is they do and think to ourselves (sometimes out loud too) “How I wish I’d have that too”, and completely forget how well we are doing ourselves until somebody else lets us know how “our grass is greener than theirs”; and so the story goes over and over again.

It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, who you work for or where you live, it’s all the same.

If you work for a global organization you see the corporate bureaucracy while others see the benefits you get; if you work for a small company you focus on the limited resources while others do so on how you are practically part of the directors board; or if you run your own business you think of how hard it is to bring in revenue, while others celebrate your independence.

The reality is that, as the old saying goes: “You can boil beans anywhere”. It does not matter where you work, with who you do or how successful you are, there will always be a small detail, a person, a process or whatever, that will make you want to look at your neighbor’s grass.

So, what exactly does the people we so admire do? You know, those people who seem to have it all and are always smiling and never complaining. Are their lives as perfect as they seem?

A few months ago I read a phrase from Robin Sharma (Whom I’ve frequently cited here) that said that a trait in all great athletes, entrepreneurs, artists, employees, etc. is that “They make hard look really easy”.

And they do so because they work hard at it every day, and because they understand that there will always be some things they will have to do even though they don’t like doing. Yet they do so, because they know that is part of what will allow them to get to where they want to go.They understand that although they would rather avoid them, these are stepping stones to keep moving forward towards their goal. They don’t complain, they “chose their beans” and keep working hard.

The secret is not to search for the perfect life. The path with no rocks does not exist and the only people with no problems at all, are not here anymore.

We all can see our grass green, but we have to acknowledge that there will also be moments that although we’ll want to avoid, they are precisely those “boiling beans” we all have to deal with.

And who knows…they might even turn out to be like Jack’s magic beans!

An important note.

The comments, opinions and recommendations posted in this personal blog are my personal thoughts, and doesn't necesarily reflect those of my employer.