Thursday, 27 October 2011

Economic Hit Men Hit Hard

This week's profiled book is "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" by John Perkins. What authority or insight does he have on this topic, you ask? Well, John used to be one. These "economic hit men" are highly paid professionals who cheat countries out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, US Agency for International Development, an other foreign “aid” organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control natural resources. Again, yes, John was one of these guys.

I believe that knowledge is power, and that is why I feel it important to share this book with you, and in this blog post, educate you on the very real threat these hit men pose.

Did you know that for every $100 worth of oil torn from the Amazon, less than $3 goes to the people
who need the money most, those whose lives have been so adversely impacted by the dams, the drilling, and the pipelines, and who are dying from lack of edible food and potable water?  The real problem here is that the people were promised by Economic Hit Men that their lives would improve because of oil extraction.  In reality, the opposite has happened.

Mr. Perkins breaks down the book by time frame from 1963 to present day.  For the sake of time, I will touch on different parts.  This book is basically a confession from John and his mission is to educate and change the behaviors.  He outlines at the end of the book things we can do to get the word out. They are as follow:

1. “In for Life” – Mr. Perkins had a profile that the NSA (National Security Agency) liked.  He could lie.  When he was accepted by the NSA he worked for a low key consulting group called MAIN.  The NSA is seven times the size of the CIA.

2. Why Statistics? Mr. Perkins worked for MAIN as an economist.  As an economist he was PUSHED to show positive statistics for countries that were in poverty but have very rich natural resources.  Thus they would approach governments with forecasts that showed highly reduced poverty rates in their country in exchange for infrastructure building.  Thus the argument was that we would lend the capital
resources to build the pipelines and do the drilling in these countries and in return the corporations would get the oil and subsequent profits.  The issue comes into play that the quality of living for the locals never improves.  In fact, the data shows that it worsens.

3. Saudi Arabia – This excerpt summarizes the book and makes a strong claim for American Empire building. In 1974, Royal family agrees to invest billions of dollars of oil income in U.S. Securities and to allow the U.S Department of the Treasury to use the interest from those investments to hire U.S. firms to build power and water systems, highways, ports, and cities in the kingdom.  In exchange, the U.S. guarantees that the royal family will continue to rule.  This will serve as a model for future EHM deals, including the one that ultimately failed in Iraq.

These practices need to change. We are in a particular economic situation where we can no longer afford these practices.  Middle class America is becoming extinct.  The real damage here is the shear number of people that were and ARE hurt by these actions.

Thanks for reading! More to come next week.


Thursday, 20 October 2011

Leadership is what makes groups, companies and organizations great. Leadership empowers the group to perform at optimal levels.  Dr. Chopra discuses in the book about leading from the soul.  I have never heard of this but the content of the book makes total sense.  Understanding the human hierarchy of needs and leading through those needs provides a framework for affinity and performance.

The Soul of Leadership is an excellent book that will help you in your quest for leadership knowledge.  It's different from other leadership books because it's human. Dr. Chopra is very distinct in what he means by L.E.A.D.E.R.

Look and Listen – The key here is to observe as an unbiased observer who has not judged anything in advance.  Obey your feelings.

Emotional Bonding – This requires the elimination of living in crisis mode.  It requires the clearing away of toxic emotions so you can clearly understand your needs and the needs of others.

Awareness – Being aware of self questions.  Who am I? What do I want? What does the situation demand? The team must also ask these questions of themselves.

Doing – At the end of the day it is all about 4. Doing – At the end of the day it is all about performance.  Groups can not win without doing.  Leaders must “do” by example.

Empowerment – The soul’s power comes from self-awareness that is responsive to feedback but independent of the good or bad opinion of others.  Empowerment is not selfish. It raises the status of the leader and team together.

Responsibility – Character and Integrity are big words that define a leader.  Responsibility for these actions are critical for a leader and a teams success.

Additionally, it is important to note that Dr. Chopra talks about Buddha and Christ in the book.  “They offered their followers an opportunity to meet their needs at the highest level, the universal desire for unity.” If you are not familiar with Dr. Chopra’s work, I will tell you that he always works from a higher level of meaning.  He has done some groundbreaking work and really is a source of inspiration.  In the quest for knowledge and learning, I recommend you study this book and the others by Dr. Chopra.

Thanks for reading! For more content, visit See you next Friday.


Thursday, 13 October 2011

Social Media and Booming Business

"Social Boom: How to Master Business Social Media" by Jeffrey Gitomer is a great book that is packed with excellent information regarding Linkedin, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter.  Social Boom describes the concept and importance of content creation and self branding.  If you are in sales or in business or
aspiring to be in business then this book is for you. Remember, social networking is so powerful because there is a never ending stream of prospects for your business or service.

Cardinal Rule: Everybody loves to buy but hates to be sold! Violate that one and die in the social world.
If you have not read anything by Jeffrey Gitomer, I suggest you start.  Jeffrey is an in your face type of person which is a good thing for the message that he delivers.  One of the best books I read was his on customer service. I'll profile that one later.

If you're looking to advance your career or take your business to the next level, think about this: When you go to a job interview, the first thing people do is Google you! What are the results?  Think about that for a minute and your heart may stop.  If you don’t manage this stuff then it will manage you and you will be left behind. Business Social Media is the new cold call according to Jeffery.  I agree with this 100%, and that is why I'm sharing what I've learned with you.

This book is packed with tons of relevant information. Too much, in fact, for the purpose of this post, so I will simply focus on LinkedIn and content creation.

1. Thought Leader– Are you a content creator and thought leader?  Do you blog or write papers in your niche?  Don’t worry because I did not either when I started this.  I will make this point from a business or sales perspective.  If you are selling a product and getting beat because of price then you are a walking brochure and not a thought leader.  Can you articulate your value from a customers perspective on one of three things either increasing their revenue, decreasing their costs or reducing their risk?  If you talk instead listen, then you are doing this all wrong. You need to get in the mind set of YOUR customer and get out of yourself.  This is why feature and benefit selling along with advertising are dead today.  The easiest way to become a content creator is start from where you are.

2. Passion – I have touched on this in several of my book summaries.  What are you passionate about?  Are you doing what you love?  If not, then start right NOW!  It is easier for you to work hard, smart and right on something you love then it is on a job that you hate.  This simple concept is the key to starting and becoming a social media guru.

3. LinkedIn – Do you have a LinkedIn profile?  If you are in the business world and do not have one then you are missing the boat.  If you have one, is it finished 100%?  At the end of this book summary do yourself a favor and create a LinkedIn profile and finish it.  You will be happy you did.  Also, work with colleagues to recommend you on LinkedIn.  When other people write good things about you then it is far more effective then if you write it about yourself.  This simple 3rd party reference technique is very powerful and will start you on your way to being a LinkedIn guru.

I hope you have found this post helpful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes habit. Habits form in as little as 21 days.

One thing you can take away from this book is to become a content creator.  To do this simply carve out 15 minutes a day and write.  Even if you write like a three year old, which I do, it does not matter.  The key to this is to start and do it daily.  At the end of the book Jeffrey gives a great list of writing techniques that will help you.

Thanks for reading! Have a great day.


Monday, 3 October 2011

Thank You, Gary Vaynerchuck, for "The Thank You Economy"

"The Thank You Economy" by Gary Vaynerchuck is about building a one to one relationship with your prospect to go from customer satisfaction to customer loyalty. For a quick review, customer loyalty means that they will not leave and even forgive mistakes. Customer Loyalty is the holy grail of any organization. Loyal customers do the following:
1. Refer more business by word of mouth.
2. Spend more money with you.
3. Are at the high end of your life time value
4. Forgive mistakes and offer real suggestions for improvement
Now the key is - how do we do this with Business Social Media?
You need to understand this or you will lose to your competition. The good news is social media is wide open and most businesses, regardless if they are B2C (business to consumer) or B2B (business to business), do not use this effectively. This means that you can gain a huge competitive advantage over your competitors by simply being first.
Are you a business small business owner and think Social Media is not important? Perhaps you think it is not important because you do not have time to learn it. This is not uncommon in the small business world. I can attest to the fact that you can spend so much of your time in the business that you forget to work ON THE BUSINESS.
Do you run a large organization and simply afraid of the openness of Social Media? This is not uncommon. You see corporate speak that do not allow employees to use Twitter, Facebook and other social mediums. The problem here is that people are talking about your brand and you don't even know it. Take the blinders off and get educated. This has to start at the top of any organization. We will dive into more details now.
(EMBRACE THE SOCIAL MEDIA PARADIGM! All caps because I firmly believe in this.)
1. Stupid Quote 1: "This telephone" has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication." Western internal memo 1876
2. Stupid Quote 2: "While theoretically and technically TV may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility." Lee De Forest, radio pioneer, 1926
3. Brilliant Quote: "If I had a nickel for every time an investor told me this wouldn't work........" Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon
Ok, on with the show....
There are excellent examples in the book on how Social Media can enhance your business or leave you in the dust. I will touch on three points:
1. Thank You Economy Defined - Gary makes a point here to be real with your customers and engage them. This is a pull strategy and not a push strategy. Being real means apologizing when you screw-up, being humble and having a mindset of the customer. This does not mean simple push great deals and your products and services to your customers all the time. What Gary shows, time and again in the book, is that when you build a relationship then the money follows. People understand passion and sincerity. The bull shit meter will go up if you engage people and you are not sincere.
2. Ping / Pong effect - This is where traditional marketing (TV, Direct Mail, Radio) meets Social Marketing (Twitter, Facebook etc. like engagement and marriage). To put this in real perspective, think of traditional marketing as a one night stand. Companies spend millions on a 30 second Super Bowl add and hope they earn enough money to pay for it. As we have seen in the craze this did not work and wasted millions. Now if you view traditional and social marketing in the same plan then it becomes a marriage. You do a TV spot but with a call to action that people need to go to Facebook, Twitter etc. to continue the chat. This is an effective call to action. This allows you do measure your results and know the numbers of highly engaged prospects / customers. Once this happens then it is up to you to CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION and build a relationship.
3. Avaya Example: This really cemented it for me. We sell our software solution business to business and it is hard to visualize how Social Media will work. It is easy to see the benefits if you are a doctor or dentist. You have the content and expertise to engage your patients through social media to grow your business. The good news is this is wide open because 95% of doctors & dentists don't do this. Avaya sells solutions to businesses. In the book, Gary profiles how Avaya engages their user base and some of the payoff. In a nutshell, they use Twitter to answer technical questions and head off complaints before they mushroom. Avaya received a $250K deal because a happy Twitter subscriber recommended them.
The real power of the Thank You Economy comes from sheer numbers. Remember one thing: 60% of Americans right now use Social Media and the percentage is growing daily. Of those 60%, they also buy Business to Business stuff.
One thing you can take away from this book is to get educated right now on Social Media. If you don't then you will lose ground. Remember that human nature does not change but the way to engage has throughout history. Don't miss the Social Media wave.