More on social networking …

April 11, 2009 by  
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On Friday, Colleen Carmean from ASU presented info on “all things Web 2.0”.   One point she brought up is whether all the free Web 2. 0 tools will survive the economic downturn.  Hmmm, food for thought. Especially if you have lots of information stored on one those free sites.  When my partner and I owned our software company we were constantly forewarning our customers to back up their data.  Hadn’t thought about doing the same for social networking sites. 

During Colleen’s presentation/discussion, one of the questions posed was “how do I decide what to do in Web 2.0 and where do I place my time?”

Great question and one I’m sure is one the minds of many consultants.  Fortunately, Dave Cooke, aka The Sales Cooke is going to address that question in May when he discusses developing a strategy for social networking.

Personally, I can hardly wait.  I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Plaxo,  I know what a time soak they can be.   I have evaluated (and ignored) Twitter for a very long time. 

A couple of weeks ago I set up my Twitter account and people can now follow me  @windowsyl

I am following some interesting people and made a few “tweets” of my own but, I’m still not convinced of the utility of Twitter.  To me, too many people on Twitter write so much stuff that is not relevant to business. I know it was initially a way for friends to connect and now there is a blurring of how it is used for personal/business information.

In a brief discussion with Dave after the meeting I said that the type of leaders/executives I coach don’t use Twitter and that it does nothing for search engine ranking.  Dave’s answer made me pause when he said that maybe right how there’s not an algorithm for Twitter, but who knows what will happen in the future.  And that those who are on Twitter now (with a healthy following) will become better known in their field, long term.

If you are wondering about what social networking tools will be helpful for your business and to become better known, then consider attending next month’s meeting.

Even though I am the VP of Programs for this year where it’s important for me to show up for the meetings, this is one I will definitely attend.  I don’t want to be left behind AND I want to use my time effectively.

Sylva Leduc

Web 2.0 – The next big thing or the newest waste of time?

April 7, 2009 by  
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On April 10th, Dr. Colleen Carmean will talk with the AZ IMC members about Web 2.0 and how it can be a useful tool for consultants.

Colleen is providing a guided tour of Web 2.0.  Not just a PPT presentation, but a live online tour of some of her favorite social networking sites.   Colleen is a Digital Knowledge Architect at ASU, so she knows how social networking and social media can benefit us in our work as consultants.

Read more about Colleen HERE

What do you think:  is Web 2.0 the next big thing or the newest waste of time?

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Sylva Leduc, MEd. MPEC
Leadership Strategist

The Leader's Role in Reducing Stress

March 27, 2009 by  
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A recent workplace poll conducted by the Business Journal shows that nearly 40% of employees are worried/fearful.


Not really, because the media continues to focus on news that’s negative. What’s the solution? While it’s impossible to guarantee there won’t be any layoffs, it’s imperative that managers and leaders in organizations lend a sense of security through their own confidence.

How can that be done? One simple solution for managers (and leaders) is to get out of the office and talk with staff. Even if you don’t know all the answers, at least engage people in conversation.  Talk with them and ask questions.  Find out how they are doing and ask them how you can help make their work easier.   Ask and then LISTEN.Ask questions and then LISTEN

Some managers are afraid they won’t have all the answers.  Here’s a hint: NO ONE has all the answers.

So, get up right now, get out of your office and start talking with your people.  Unless you are the type of manager who scares everyone by your mere presence, everyone will be better off.

If you are the type of manager everyone wants to avoid, well that’s a whole other story.

11 Keys to Ensure Your Company Survives, Even Thrives, In Uncertain Times

March 11, 2009 by  
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To say we are in uncertain times is a gross understatement. Investors are in a quandary trying to decide what to do. Employees are ringing their hands as they watch their 401k and retirement funds dwindle. And business owners are wondering what the future holds and what actions they should be taking.   

As consultants, the last thing any of us can afford to do is allow our own practice and/or clients to play “turtle.” Success will not come from pulling heads into shells and wishing for the best. It is crucial for us to face the reality of the situation and continue to carefully move forward. 

IMC AZ member, Joel Strom, identified 11 Keys to Ensure Your Company Survives, Even Thrives, in Uncertain Times.  For the March ’09 breakfast meeting,  his interactive presentation for IMC AZ members and guests  addressed how to help yourself and your clients get through these tough times in one piece, and maybe even grow a little.

About Joel Strom:  Twenty-five years ago Joel founded his consulting practice with a commitment to help business owners harness their entrepreneurial passion and create successful business growth and personal wealth. As an entrepreneur himself, having grown his own manufacturing company, he knew his clients and audiences would demand direct and realistic solutions that worked…not fads or gimmicks. His consulting practice, and the demand for his presentations and seminars, grew along with his reputation for providing real solutions that businesses and organizations could actually implement. 

 To learn more about Joel’s 11 Keys, visit his website.

What's TRUST got to do with it?

February 17, 2009 by  
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I recently had the pleasure of listening to a local Phoenix author, Victoria Crawford, talk about her new book, titled “The Art & Practice of Trust.”

Victoria was a presenter at the Phoenix chapter of the ICF — the Greater Phoenix Alliance of Coaches. Through her presentation and guided discussion, we explored why TRUST is one of the foundations of coaching. To me, the subtitle of her book, “Finding Your Way Through Uncertainty, Change & Transition” provided a central key.

When people venture into unknown territories, they are often filled with trepidation. Fear subsides when they realize they’re not the first ones to go into the unknown. And, confidence builds when they discover there is a pathway to follow. The pathway Victoria described is elegant in its simplicity.

We may venture into the unknown with a coach, a friend, a mentor, or only have our self to rely upon. In any case, what we tell ourselves, and the actions we take, determines how we handle change and uncertainty.

Think about the last time you faced a new challenge. Initially, your heartbeat may have quickened while your breathing became more rapid and shallow. So, even though blood was pumping through your veins, you were starving your brain (constrictive). Not a great combination for taking effective action.

As Victoria shared from her years as a yoga instructor, when facing new situations it’s vital to take some deep breaths, the kind in which you can feel your diaphragm go in and out (expansive). Only then can you begin to explore options. It’s the willingness to explore options and increase your awareness that leads you to trust your decisions and take committed actions.

As I was leaving the ICF meeting (which was held at, I saw some walls covered with handwritten comments. Someone told me they are left by former employees, as well as, by people who visit What struck me was they seemed to be like signposts or markers. Just like those telltale markers we see on hiking paths: the ribbons tied to trees which indicate others have gone before us. Instead of hurrying out the door, I paused, took a deep, full breath, read a few of those messages and then smiled.

In times when the media seems to offer nothing but bad news and dire warnings, it was good to remember others are on this path with us and that trust (in oneself) is the key to success.


Rapid Response: difference between life & death

January 16, 2009 by  
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Yesterday, I both observed – and personally experienced – the vital importance of rapid response.

Right now I am sitting in a hotel room in Providence, RI, listening to news coverage about flight 1549 and the Miracle on the Hudson. Reporters are talking about the rapid response of the rescue teams.The doctors they are interviewing said that with the freezing temperatures it was vital to get everyone out of the water as quickly as possible to prevent hypothermia.

Yesterday I recently experienced two more instances of rapid response. The first occurred in the afternoon at the business conference I attended with three dozen other people. As we neared the end of the day business cards were being exchanged, and one of the people, Stephen Balzac, suggested we simply create a list with our contact information and that he would later share it everyone. Not remarkable in itself as I’ve attended many meetings or conferences where this was done. The difference here was that Stephen created a private user group almost immediately after the meeting ended and he then sent a personal invitation to everyone. Rapid response.

The third time I observed rapid response and where I experienced it personally occurred last night, just a few minutes before midnight when the fire alarm began ringing. I’ve read stories about how some people simply ignore the fire alarm in hotels. Not me! I dressed as quickly as possible and made my way outside, long before I could smell the smoke winding it’s way down the halls. Yes, there was a fire. One of the hotels guests at an evening event decided to extinguish a cigarette. Where? In, of all places, at the base of one of the artificial trees, You know the ones with the dried moss, aka, tinder? Simply brilliant.

The fire department was there in less than five minutes. Rapid response.

Three instances of rapid response caused me to think about its vital importance in business. My mentor, Alan Weiss, of Summit Consulting, has built rapid response into his business. He personally returns phone calls within 90 minutes. Of course, if he is flying overseas and not able to do so he alerts people in advance, and/or arranges to have someone field his calls.

When my partner and I founded Client Compass Software, we established a four hour reply policy for all e-mails and phone calls. Four hours was the maximum time allowed and we both encouraged and rewarded the members of our team for responding within one hour. Like Alan Weiss, we recognized the importance of rapid response.

What about you, your team/department, or your business? Do you have a policy of rapid response? After all, it can make the difference between the life and death of your business.

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