Harvard Business Review: The Best Way to Use the Last Five Minutes of Your Day

January 5, 2011

If you feel you’re not taking the time to step back and see the big picture of your role, your career and your colleagues, why not take HBR’s advice and spend five minutes answering the following questions:

  • How did the day go? What success did I experience? What challenges did I endure?
  • What did I learn today? About myself? About others? What do I plan to do — differently or the same — tomorrow?
  • Who did I interact with? Anyone I need to update? Thank? Ask a question? Share feedback?

Click through for a case study: The Best Way to Use the Last Five Minutes of Your Day – Peter Bregman – Harvard Business Review.


Blogging Me Blogging You in 2011 – Change and Balance

January 3, 2011

2010 was an exhausting year. A second job change in two years. Gruelling agency workload. Plenty of family commitments. But challenging and rewarding all at the same time.

Over the last few years I’ve seen my approach to blogging change. Initially, way back in 2006 when I started Blogging Me Blogging You, this blog was a sandbox – somewhere for me to try out all the stuff I couldn’t persuade my superiors to sell to our clients. But it was technical – how do you set up a blog, customise it with basic features, add a feedburner feed, moderate comments. Etc etc. I’ve managed to move to a new domain (edlee.ca) but am still using the hosted wordpress.com software – as Parker says, I still have the training wheels on.

As more of you started reading it, it became a place I tried out thoughts on the industry, the space we’re in and where we may be going. Then I got busy at work and I wasn’t able to spend as much time thinking and writing as I would have liked – so the blog changed again. I still try to find time to think about stuff and to articulate it in a blog post but more and more this is where I find cool stuff and post it with a few comments. The most popular posts this year have been the opinion pieces but these days my professional opinion manifests itself in client presentations and strategy decks before making an appearance here. I’m not sure who that benefits more – clients or readers!

The blog is changing and I’ve changed as a consultant as well. My attitude to social media has become less wide-eyed and naïve over the last few years – although I am still a great believer in the medium – and rather than thinking all my clients should “join the conversation”, I’ve been more inclined to think about what the conversation can do for my clients. Rather than advocate total transparency, I talk about the need for selective transparency. Rather than jump in feet first, I now have a better understanding of how and why to take things slow and some (not all) of the internal gates my clients need to pass through for a successful programme with full internal alignment – see my presentation to the AMA Toronto chapter on gaining alignment for more on this. Although as with all things, there is a need for balance – a time to surf and a time to wax your board. Knowing when to push and when to step back is an important part of being an advocate in a relatively unknown and unproven discipline.

I feel much more comfortable with this balanced middle ground – as opposed to holding a fiercely revolutionary view point – and I hope my clients (internal and external) do so too. A balanced, media agnostic viewpoint is certainly what I believe this spaces needs.

From a personal standpoint I’ve also started to let go of certain things. One of the main reasons I joined Radar DDB this year was that the ad agency model allows for focused job roles. There are account folk to manage the accounts, strategic planners to plan the strategy, creatives to create the creative and producers to oversee production. The PR model is very much all about generalism (from what I’ve seen) where the person managing your account is also developing strategy AND creative while overseeing production and execution. My new role is more focused and, while I can still bring the jack-of-all-trades approach to some of our projects, I feel comfortable being part of a larger team.

The last two years, at both com.motion and now Radar DDB, have taught me that I am good in start-up mode. Taking a nascent social practice and growing it quickly. Hopefully 2011 will teach me I am good at the sustain part of the job too. It certainly feels like it is the more important part – the first year you can run on adrenaline; the second you have to consolidate and sustain.

I’m still struggling on how to delegate efficiently, especially to a highly talented team, and on how to achieve more balance in my life – there has to be a happy medium between serving the three masters of my career, my family and me. Mitch may disagree though! I definitely feel of the three masters, “me” has come of worse in 2010 and I hope 2011 can bring me more time on the football field and at industry events like Third Tuesday, which I co-founded, and Thirsty Thursday.

So here’s to a great 2010 and a 2011 full of new challenges, of new opportunity but most of all, of balance.


How to Excel at Anything

September 6, 2010

Six steps to achieving excellence from the Harvard Business Review – not how to use the dastardly spreadsheet programme from Microsoft! More detail on each after the click.

  1. Pursue what you love.
  2. Do the hardest work first.
  3. Practice intensely, without interruption for short periods of no longer than 90 minutes and then take a break.
  4. Seek expert feedback, in intermittent doses.
  5. Take regular renewal breaks.
  6. Ritualize practice.

via Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything – Tony Schwartz – The Conversation – Harvard Business Review.


What Makes a Great Mentor?

January 19, 2010

From a survey released by the Marketing Hall of Legends, in association with Hotspex. Sample size was just 216 so while we can’t take the following as gospel, the stats provide an interesting jumping off point.

What are the most important traits young marketers look for in a mentor?

  • Honesty: 89%
  • Offering relevant insights: 89%
  • Asks tough questions: 74%
  • Is motivational: 72%
  • Transparency: 60%

Elsewhere in the survey:

  • Of those without, 88% are interested in having a mentor, with younger respondents indexing higher; only 18% have one
  • 40% of mentees feel that having more than one mentor is beneficial because it provides different perspectives
  • Less than 1/3 of marketing professionals seek career guidance outside of their company
  • 71% of marketing professionals are mentored by fellow colleagues or managers – raising interesting questions around the objectivity of the guidance they are receiving

Thanks to the team at Maverick PR for passing this one on.


Managing Your Inner Critic

January 6, 2010

Without doubt, I am my own worst critic. Nothing is ever good enough, everything could have/should have been done differently, everything going wrong is my fault.

I deal with this inner dialogue by reminding myself that no matter what situation I find myself in, those who have allowed me to get into that situation believe in my ability to make the most of it, to get myself out of it or if I truly fail, to learn from that experience.

Here are three ways Harvard teaches you to deal with that inner critic, insidiously eating away at all of us.

  • Examine your inner critic.
  • Understand that your inner critic can actually help you.
  • Act in spite of your inner critic.
  • Thank your inner critic for its opinion and speak up anyway.

More here:

How to Manage Your Inner Critic – The Conversation – Harvard Business Review.


Blogging is Free

July 29, 2009

An oldie but a goodie:

Blogging is free. It doesn’t matter if anyone even reads it. What matters is the meta-cognition of thinking about what you’re going to say. How to you explain yourself to … whoever’s going to look at it? How do you force yourself to describe in three paragraphs why you did something? How do you respond out loud?

Seth Godin

From a personal development basis, this is about as spot on as you get. When he was my editor of the Blog Herald, (Dr) Tony Hung often told me that a person’s insight and analytical tools are like muscles. In order to make them stronger, they have to constantly worked out. For me, blogging marketing and communications allows me to work out my insight and analysis. I want to do more of it.

The problem arises when organizations see the benefits a blog can have on one person’s reputation and want to scale it for the reputation of the organization. You can have multiple authors but they all have to committed to and accountable for the success of the blog.


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