Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Leadership and Blogging: Deep Intentional Impact & Value

I recently listened to a great talk between John Gruber and Merlin Mann, which is linked at the bottom of this post, about blogging, social media, and (my interpretation) being a great human being. I loved the talk. They’re both insightful and damn funny, and they’re speaking from (generally) an elevated perspective.

A keystone in my consulting practice is individual and social development theory and practice. I am constantly listening for the stages (or memes) that produce the content people are presenting in the world (words, actions, and artifacts such as art, written material including blogs and tweets, and systems, to name just a few). People don’t produce content. Perspectives in people produce content. People aren’t their perspectives or the content they produce – people are people. (This too is just another perspective, but more on that in another post).

Almost all contemporary individual and social development theorists across the board observe and agree on a few general stages of development. As an individual or society develops, their capacity to observe and understand complexity grows (from very simplistic interpretations to very complex and considerate interpretations), and their circles of identity and impact grow larger (from self to family to nation to world to universe).

Here’s a quick summation of stage growth expressed through blogging content:
  1. I blog because my ideas are right. My beliefs are true. Your beliefs are wrong if they’re different mine. I am blogging to share the truth with those of you that don’t get it. I am also really interested in the people that agree with my ideas, as they get it. Here’s an example:
  2. I am blogging to network, sell and create opportunities. Blogging is a tool that enables my success. Here’s an example:
  3. Blogging is an opportunity to express my unique perspective. Blogging enables connection; blogging is really about connection. I can listen to others sharing their unique perspectives. We can all enjoy and appreciate each other. Here’s an example:
  4. Blogging is many things to many people, and has a many different experiences within it. I blog to share with those that find meaning and value in my writing. I blog to create connections of possibility and invitation – an invitation of mutual success. I blog to create connection and learn from others. I blog to create a valuable integration of perspectives that radically serves the past, present and future. Here’s an example:
  5. I blog because it makes me happy. I blog to connect to our larger shared experience, and service this experience. Here’s an example:

Disclaimer 1: The higher numbers do not equal better or more relevant. The numbers organize a continuum of perspectives increasing in complexity and consideration. Higher isn’t better, it’s just different and generally more inclusive, which is very effective for certain things. (Leadership today requires complex, considerate and inclusive perspectives).

Disclaimer 2: I’m not making a definitive statement about the blogs I am using as examples – I spent about ten minutes finding the first two and the last three are blogs I subscribe to. Each of these blogs has value and I am certain all of these authors are making great contributions to our human experience. All of these perspectives have great relevance and I appreciate them all equally for different reasons.

In their talk, John and Merlin are mostly speaking from perspective no. 3, and this is a refreshing perspective (a personal favorite). In a world and market where everyone is jumping on the social media bandwagon as a means to create the next influx of massive capital, John and Merlin are speaking about important attributes that skilled, effective, and powerful leaders possess.

Successful blogging, as John and Merlin discuss, incorporates a few important principles. First, be authentic. Be yourself. Let yourself, as you are, be fully expressed through your blog. This is great for blogging and great for leadership. Leadership is about being your self, deeply. This allows others to be themselves and shine, and it gives you complete access to all of your unique gifts, ideas and emotions, all of which are your greatest assets. Next, find what you obsess over and write about that, and because you’re excited your excitement will inspiration others. Again, true in blogging and true in leadership. Great leaders are committed to and excited about a vision or cause inspiring others to join them in their journey. Know what you’re excited about out; share it with others constantly.

From authenticity and inspiration, know who you’re writing for and write for them. Write for them as an act of care and love (“love” being my interpretation of what John and Merlin where discussing). When you write and lead from a place of service as an act of care, you can’t help but touch people and magnetize them towards you. Everyone then gets to share in a potent experience and exchange.

Lastly, attention is valuable. Attention is perhaps one the most valuable things in this universe. Successful leaders and bloggers know how capture and sustain attention. Dynamic leaders and bloggers creating transformative change know how to sustain and service attention. Attention is perhaps one the greatest resources we have. Honor the attention that is given to you and the attention given to you will grow.

John and Merlin offer a great and entertaining talk. Get comfortable, grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine; it’s an hour long: