Don’t Lose It, Man!

Don’t Lose It, Man!
Don’t get locked out of your online accounts. Make sure to plan ahead.

My kids are constantly losing things. Toys, books, their jackets, etc.  Thankfully for password keychains on our home computer, the one thing they don’t lose access to is their Club Penguin accounts.

If only the same could be said for so many people managing websites and web-based accounts on behalf of their organization.

Here’s a real life example.  I have a client who lost the password to one of their critical web-based tools.  They tried everything they could think of to remember the username and password and got locked out after too many unsuccessful login attempts.  They contacted customer support who promptly e-mailed password recovery options to the e-mail address on record when the account went was established.

However, that e-mail address was of an employee who hasn’t worked at the organization in over a year.  That e-mail box is gone.  No password recovery. (insert sad sound effect here)

That screeching sound you just heard is the brakes being put on all the work they need to do in that online tool while the mess gets sorted out.

There has been much written about not letting interns set up your social media accounts or the fact that Facebook used to allow eternal admin rights to a page creator regardless of that person’s affiliation with the organization or page (which has thankfully been changed).

But here’s another thing to consider when having your team set-up these accounts – people leave jobs.  Even trusted, valuable, loyal people.

Your webmaster or marketing director who set up your Google Analytics, YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, LinkedIn pages and controls your online presence may call you tomorrow to tell you they won the lottery and won’t be coming in.  Or you might have layoffs and your HR policy requires you immediately lock that person out of their systems access.

Here’s where internet policy and web governance is critical.

First, when managing the website and online tools, create a generic e-mail box that system administrators can always have ready access to – something like a  Make sure that this is the primary e-mail address associated with those accounts.  Also, make sure to add to your internet usage policies that staff may not set-up accounts for critical business tools under their personal e-mails.

Next, go back and look at all your accounts.  What’s the primary e-mail associated with that account.  Quickly change them all to your master generic account.  If you want to segment access and allow staff access to specific web-based tools, buy additional licenses or set them up as secondary users.

As for that client?  They’ll be fine.  Through a friend of a friend we’ll eventually be able to reset that password so they can have access and continue their work.  But it has stalled their work and is going to take a couple of weeks to sort out.

But with some foresight and planning, the whole mess could have been avoided.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Since I’ve started using this blog for more professional than personal observations, I’ve stayed away from political discussions.  However, the recent primary election results have compelled me to comment.

Despite your political leanings, it is clear that the last two significant elections have been driven by voter sentiment that is the polar opposite of whatever party is in power.  The outcome seems to have become a divisive “I don’t want to work with you” attitude.  As I watch the evening news, I feel like I’m watching grown adults behave like my 6 year old having a tantrum because he doesn’t want to do his chores.

And the result is that we have a system dominated by groups that hold on to their opinions so strongly that no one wants to work together — and eventually nothing happens.

I’m all for strong opinions.  It’s why people like me have jobs and why companies and non-profits bring in consultants.  Let’s face it we don’t gravitate toward milquetoast personalities.

But the reality is that 99% of us get paid to get work done (unless you are a reality TV star).   And eventually you have to work with others to do that.

Some conflict is good and can help push conversations forward.  However, when faced with looming deadlines or a tense situation there is still work to be done.  Then it’s time to open up and figure out a way to work together.

I’m kicking off a web governance project with a client today.  This is sure to be a tense conversation involving people’s expertise, their feelings, perceptions of their work and more.  But at the end of it all, I am confident that the professionals I work with who are tasked with managing an organization will realize that they need to get things done and they’ll find a way to work together.

After all, we all can’t be politicians and reality TV stars.  So let’s check our egos, open our ears (and our minds) and find a way to work together.

“Good” is No Longer Good Enough

We live in a very fast moving world now.  Employee and team loyalty is won and lost in hours or minutes.  And customer loyalty (or disgruntlement) is created even faster.  This new environment requires a different leader type who can respond in a genuine way to get people to follow them.

A few weeks ago during Buzz 2010 I came to the realization that many of the principles Charline Li was talking about with Open Leadership (her latest book) were similar to the principles of “Level 5 Leadership” that Jim Collins outlined in his book Good to Great.

Good to Great has had a profound effect on me.  At the time I read it I realized that the reason my company was doing so well was because it was following so many of the principles of the book – and it was led at the top by “Level 5 Leaders”.  In many ways it formed the basis of my management style as I realized the emotional benefits of becoming such a leader.

  • Level 5 leaders build enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.
  • Level 5 leaders channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larger goal of building a great company.

Now as I work my way through Li’s Open Leadership I see more and more elements of what she describes that are fueled by this leadership approach:

  • Explaining: Creating Buy In – This isn’t a top down approach that many managers try to push.  It’s working with staff at all levels to get buy in and move forward as a team.
  • Conversing: Improving Operations – Li describes putting the community to work and funneling those efforts back into improving the operations.  As a leader, it’s realizing you might not always be the one with the best ideas and looking for help and support from wherever you find it.
  • Crowdsourcing: Solving a specific problem together – This is the ultimate setting aside of your ego as you open up to take help from large numbers of people.  But it’s all for the same goal – to make the company/product better.

See the parallels?  “Humility” and getting buy in at all levels. Focusing on the larger goal of building a great company and being willing to take in work/ideas from outside the company.

Ok, so maybe you’ve followed me as I’ve connected the dots between the two books and are ready to rush out and buy them (a good idea).  But now you’re thinking to yourself “Hey, what’s the point of this post?”

Good is no longer good enough.  Leaders now need to be Great!

The best and fastest moving organizations are embracing openness as they respond to the saturation of social technologies that are changing our business practices.  They are opening up and looking for leaders at all levels.

When Collins wrote “Good to Great” in 2001 the social web didn’t exist.  A company could be good in their self-contained universe and still make good money. It was the great companies that rose above that and generated amazing results.

Fast-forward to 2010 and you have companies starting up all over the place as technology has become more affordable and time to market has gotten increasingly shorter.  A new market emerges and without looking twice, a competitor pops up.  Customers give feedback in real time and reputations are made or lost with the post of a tweet or click of a mouse.  We now have “fans” of our companies and organizations who engage on an ongoing basis rather than buying the product/service every now and then.

As Li points out, this type of dynamic marketplace and environment requires a new type of leader.  And as you draw the parallels from Collins – these companies need great leaders.  “Good” is no longer good enough.

As you work with others throughout your organizations, mange your teams and interact with customers, I challenge you to rise above “good” and become “great”.  Your organization, staff and customers will thank you.  And as a result, you’ll see greatness for your company – and yourself.

Steven Strasburg’s Open Leadership Style? Humility

As we get ready for Charlene Li to be the first speaker of this year’s Buzz 2010, leadership is on the minds of many in the association and social media community.  Charlene’s new book “Open Leadership” discusses what strong leadership looks like in today’s open media environment.

As I’ve been reading through the interviews with Charlene at the Buzz 2010 blog and in one of her interviews she touches on the need for humility to be an open leader.  It’s something that I inherently know, have learned from my most influential leaders in my life, and try to practice.

However, it’s not something you always see from people that are put in prominent positions and from whom much is expected.  And this is where my passion for Nationals baseball, social media and leadership collide.

Yes, watching Stephen Strasburg’s blistering fast-ball, speedy slider and wicked curve balls was awesome to watch as he made his debut with the Washington Nationals this week.  However what impressed me the most was his humility.

Here’s a 21 year old who has been welcomed to the city with more fanfare than even Joe Gibbs garnered upon his return to the Redskins.  He makes more money than I can fathom and has more people hanging on his every word than any other player on the team.

And yet….. he remained humble.  He showed his respect for a future hall of fame catcher.  He thanked his teammates.  He respected his manager.  He had a smile and was cordial with all.

And in 7 innings he instantly became a leader.  Not just because of his skill, but because of his openness.

We’ve all worked with that rock-star that can close any deal, create a piece of advertising genius or code his way out of any tough situation.  But if you think about the people you respected and looked up to they were open leaders… and humble.

It’s a good reminder as we remake ourselves for this digital age.  And one that I continue to live by.


The Blessing of Good People

I spoke with one of my old bosses today. Been a long time since we spoke but I had an instant smile on my face as I spoke to him.

I have a saying. “Good people beget good people”. It means that when you know and work with wonderful people, they lead you to other good people who are wonderful to know and so on and so on.

I’m blessed to know so many good people. I hope I’m a good person to other people.

Hope you are as well.