This Headline Is Written In Invisible Ink

chess school

People say that bad headlines will kill your blog. People say that bad content will too. People also say that the moon landing was staged and that 9-11 is part of a giant government conspiracy.

I won’t tell you what I say about those crackpots. Oops, I think I just did so I might as well tell you that I think you are wandering around the land of the mentally disturbed and emotionally unhinged. Sorry mom, I don’t always keep my mouth shut when I don’t have nice things to say.

And now you have the joy of reading words that are unfiltered and uncensored.

People Are Not Commodities

My friend Max and I had a long discussion about how many businesses operate as if people are commodities that can be bought and sold. We used our personal experiences as well as those of friends and family and wondered about how often companies under utilize the capabilities of their teams and tried to figure out why this happens.

Neither of us believe it is because corporate America is inherently evil because this happens at all levels and sizes of business. Nor do we think it is because every boss/owner/supervisor is evil either. Rather we see it as a combination of things.

  1. Incompetence.
  2. Fear
  3. Lack of awareness

It is not easy to manage people. It can be challenging trying to figure out how to direct, motivate and support them. It is part of why there are a million different books and courses you can take to learn how to become a better and more effective manager.

Some people really are natural born leaders and some simply aren’t.

When we look at incompetence as being part of the reason why some businesses face challenges it is easy to point fingers and say that Dave is a terrible manager because he doesn’t know what he is doing and is unaware that he is doing it poorly.

Or maybe Dave is aware that he is terrible at managing people but fears for his job and consequently his staff is presented with a scatterbrained dimwit who dishes out blame because fear drives him.

Fear Of Change

Sometimes Dave can be a good manager. Sometimes he can be great but fear plays a different role than in the example above. Sometimes Dave fears what could happen if he made a change and it didn’t work. In that case even though Dave is a good manager and good guy fear still prevents him from opening himself up to risk and consequently he maintains the status quo because it works for him.

So it is easier for Dave not to move you up the ladder or present you with new opportunities because things are just hunky-dory.

So what about lack of awareness. Where does that fit?

Lack of awareness isn’t necessarily something that refers to a manager’s shortcomings. Sometimes it means that he/she isn’t aware about all of the skills and abilities of their staff. That is an entirely different issue.

Be Your Own Advocate

This is a big part of why you have to be your own advocate. You have to find ways to let people know about your skill set. You have to find a way to show the people that can help move you along that you can do more than you are doing now.

The kicker is how to do it without causing issues. Self promotion is a tricky business. It is not always easy to toot your own horn and look good doing it. If you do it poorly you might alienate people but if you don’t do it at all you might not ever get noticed.

Blogging, Personal Advocacy and Chess

I am biased but I am a fan of using a blog to help with personal advocacy. A blog provides you with ample opportunity to write about your skills and experiences in a way that sells you to others in a more understated manner. And chess, well I like chess because it is a useful tool for learning how to plan a few moves ahead.

Not to mention that you can find all sorts of cool photos to use in blog posts where you mention it.

And there you have, seven minutes of writing down a few thoughts. I’ll let you be the judge of whether it is coherent and meaningful or not.

The comments are yours.

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  1. Lisa Gerber May 29, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    You wrote this in 7 minutes? For real?
    A recent new client told me he changed his perspective from “wanting” to work with me to “have” to work with me after reading my blog. It works. The blog, that is. 🙂
    7 minutes???

    • Josh May 30, 2013 at 7:08 am

      Hi Lisa,

      I can produce content in a hurry, especially when I don’t have to research or do any fact checking so it was about seven minutes, could be longer. I only glanced at the clock.

      Either way I agree about the value of a blog. It makes a world of difference in introducing readers and prospective clients to us.

  2. Kristine May 29, 2013 at 12:29 am

    Interesting! I really like your point on the analogy with chess, it is such a complex strategy to manage an effective online marketing plan and attract your audience with your content. Thanks for sharing these inspirational and useful advices of yours, I’m going to try to apply ’em!;)

  3. Mary Stephenson May 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Hi Josh

    Incompetence and fear, but how about trust. Had the boss from hell, she could never be trusted, so no one ever trusted her and she wondered why! She would repeat to everyone what was told in confidence and then she wondered why people would not tell her when things went wrong. They were afraid of being yelled at and being told on.
    Some should never be in a position of being in charge of others. I have seen people change for the worst as soon as they were put in a position of management. I wonder if they lack such low self-esteem that they compensate by being a bully. As a friend once told me what she read, “You carry the big stick, everyone knows you carry the big stick, you do not need to keep reminding them.” Basically you will get the respect if only you treat others with respect, it does not have to be a battle.
    Great thoughts for 7 minutes of writing!

    • Josh May 29, 2013 at 7:35 am

      Hi Mary,

      Trust is huge. You are right, I should have included in it. It is so easy for people to forget how important it is to treat others as you want to be treated.

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