Greasing the Pole??? Leadership and having that "successful career"

Found a great article all, written by a guy taking a retrospective look at how his career progressed, verses his much more ‘networked focused’ co-worker. The article basically looks at the idea of substance, and I think highlights just what the better leaders of today have – a certain sense of humility and self-esteem derived from their own idea of success.

How would you rather follow?

P.s – I also think the best leaders, have a certain creative/dynamic charisma too…ultimate leader = Steve Jobs + Toby Ziegler?

steve.jpg + 250px-schiff_on_west_wing1.jpg

Micro Sites – some thoughts on new media and blogging

Not to long ago, I had the priveledge to hear Nick Cummins from the Sputnick Advertsing Agency about social media and the new ways they are generating word of mouth excitment around people’s brands. (eg, like this) It came to mind today as I was in a meeting earlier in the morning about how we could create a user-generated-content site for World Visions Field experts, allowing them to share info and the like.

Anyways, Nick had some brilliant insights about the way he thought the whole user generated content thing was going. He talked about Micro-sites, and how many companies that are leading in the web space were now creating micro sites for each different brnad. Duh, I hear you say – but think about it. I’m not talking different pags…but different sites…whole new sites and brands for each niche. Nike do it very well (like this and this). In relevance to the whole social media thing, he thought that most companies and orgs will soon be blogging (if they are not already), and each blog and facet of social media life will make up another micro-site. Stir, the World Vision youth site, is a great example of a user-generated, microsite completely branded and seperate from the World Vision machine.

This will/is happening personally too. Hands up if you have any of the following accounts…Facebook,, Flickr, Twitter, MySpace.


Each one is a micro site, totally dedicated to your ‘brand.’ I love the concept, and reckon it will be quite an influential kernal as time goes on.

How can you micro-site yourself? Any other examples of microsites/brands and where does this lead us as a society? Check out the Sputnik website, it is an ace example of how to match and engage with your audience…a topic for another day.

What I'm reading at the moment: Mavericks at Work

I thought I would post what I am reading at the moment, seeing as I suggested last post that I havn’t read the Craig Hassed book yet.

I’m currently reading Mavericks at Work: Why the most original minds in business win. The title is okay, if not a little wanky. But, the content is quite good. It is written by William Taylor and Polly LaBarre. Taylor, of course, is a cofounder of Fast Company and the founding editor, whilst LaBarre was a journalist for the funky business mag. As you can imagine – the content is very similar to the magazine, which is fantastic. Imagine some of the magazines best articles and themes, extrapolated and then discussed in more detail. It’s an excellent read so far.


One turn of phrase I would like to share, is the Rule of Crappy people. World Vision is looking for people right now, and as always, are looking for the best, so my head has been in the space of thinking ‘who might fit that role?’ Apparently, Starbucks came up with an idea where their staff carry with them a card with a free coffee on it and a private number, patched straight through to a Starbucks Talent Seeker, that they can give out to someone random they think has the Starbucks quality. Be it a great checkout chick or storeperson. Starbucks Big Cheifs rightly claim that they have 10.000 employees that are everywhere, and often better at recognising what it takes to be a Starbucks employee than most. The card allows people to call, get noticed, and then get tracked by Starbucks – there may not be a position yet, but the company ackmowledges that keeping in touch allows them to offer positions to talent first, instead of advertising. Cirque De Soliel has a beefed-up (scientific term) tracking system, which logs a database of 30,000 potential circus people. Each one is kept in touch with personally, and constantly invited to audition for different, specifically tailored roles.


A dream of mine, would be to see organisations such as World Vision act the same way. At the moment, there is a clear want to ‘follow a transparent’ process – which I completly understand and appluad. But, I think the process falls down because it only kicks into action when there is a need to fill a gap. People line up and volunteer at WV for years, just trying to get in to work for a company they have a real passion for. And, there are a number of incredibly talented people plying their trade here that will have very switched on friends and networks. Yet, there is no ‘Starbucks Card.’

Here is what I would do, putting on my ‘Head of People’ hat.

1) Create a role within the HR team dedicated to building a talent list, compiled from people either employed now/days gone of World Vision.

2) Create a Starbucks card type system, encouraging people to pass on to people who are ‘World Vision like.’ These people get direct access to te position created above.

3) Start a HR Blog, displaying all the positions WVA is currently trying to fill. This blog, moderated by the person created in #1, will answer questions about the roles, as well as questions about the org, and how people should best apply. This allows them to ENGAGE with people, rather than hope people carry out the incredibly arcane and transaction action of ‘sending in a resume.’ (Resume’s, and job-recruitment in general, have not changed since the days of the typewriter. Yes, we now have (hear me shudder), but that has only changed the method by which people submit their resumes. The game has not substantially changed in 50 years. sigh.

4) Ask new employees to provide details of their favourite co-workers from their past employees. This is a touch personal, but if you recruit talent, chances are they had a few kindred spirits wherever they came from. Get the logged, sign them up to the RSS for the job-blog, and then start havign conversations with them.

5) People share – this one, I’m claiming as my own. Non-profits, especially, lose good people to corporates because they can’t match the 1) diversity of work people get in larger, commercial companies and 2) the salaries. Yet, the skill set of the NGO class are highly relevant to todays commercial and corporate world (building grass-root networks, building campaigns, being entrepreneurial with small budgets and big objectives, creating communities and advocacy for a cause.) We shoudl staff share. Why, oh why, can’t Big Corp X share a FTE position with Big NGO Y? Telstra and WVA, share a marketing star??? The shared learning would be enormous, and the person in the position would develop a kick-arse skill set.

Just some thoughts – what are yours? How would you keep talent around? Anythign wrong with #1 thru 5?