Worthy of imitation

Gaining trust by writing newsletters in a specific way... advice from Michael Katz

In the years I've been reading Michael Katz's newsletters on newsletters, I've laughed and learned a great deal. His chatty style is always leading to a easy-to-remember point. I certainly feel that I know him well. 

When we write in concrete, relatable details, then we create a connection.

Blue Penguin Development: Do Your Prospects Trust You? Try This, 2016-Sep-23 by Michael Katz

The best advice I could ever give you about writing in a more authentic way is simply this: Write to readers as if you already know them well.

When you include specific references to recent events, they’ll feel like you actually do.


How telling better stories can make us happier

We are hearing more and more reasons to develop our storytelling skills. This article includes quite a few helpful tips. 

Wall Street Journal: Why Good Storytellers Are Happier in Life and in Love, 2016-July-4 by Elizabeth Bernstein

Tell stories of the past, present and future. Highlighting great memories or successes that you had together in the past helps you reconnect. Narrating recent events that have happened to you, or telling a story about a challenge you are facing, helps illuminate what matters to you. Weaving a story of a future event as you’d like it to happen—a vacation, a child’s wedding, the dance at your 60th anniversary party—can help you visualize what you want for your relationship.

Include your emotions. Show, don’t tell. (“She was wearing a red silk dress and my palms got sweaty.”) “Details can unlock the emotional truths that until now were never spoken out loud,” says Lauren Dowden, a social worker at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center, as well as a Second City alumna and teacher. She runs a storytelling group for couples where one partner has Alzheimer’s.

Conversely, good stories avoid certain things—cliché, digression, saying too much, not saying enough, lack of attention to the audience and preachiness

Practice. Storytelling is an art form, like playing the piano or creating a garden, says Dr. Winter, the literary critic. “You can start with something simple and it might be satisfying, but it might not be as good or as true as it can be.”

Dr. Winter suggests the three Rs: Reflect on the events. Refine what they meant to you. Read. “Learn from the masters,” she says. 


The more important a change is, the more time we ought to be willing to give it.

Seth Godin is very good at reminding people to keep going even though they are not yet seeing results.  (I highly recommend The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

Recently he reminded us that we can't reason our way into cultural change. No matter how good the reasoning, we have to expect slow change based on our commitment. If we trust our reasons we have to trust that time is on our side. We have to be role models and cheerleaders and analysts, and we have to figure out how to sustain ourselves. 

Seth's Blog: The Flip is Elusive, 2016-Jul-14 by Seth Godin

If you want to change people's minds, you need more than evidence. You need persistence. And empathy. And mostly, you need the resources to keep showing up, peeling off one person after another, surrounding a cultural problem with a cultural solution. 




All other things being equal... they never are. Managing ourselves with an inverted pyramid

I manage volunteers, and when I ask them to do something, they often respond, "Yes, if you'll supply me with ____." One of the days, I'm going to get smart enough to recognize that as a "no." I admire them for finding a way to push back and delay. Here are more good tips from Sam Spurlin. 

The Ready on Medium: Why Effective Organizations and People Know “The Inverted Pyramid is Fractal”, 2016-May-25 by Sam Spurlin

“What is critical and what can be pushed until later?” “What’s a need to have vs. what’s a nice to have?” You ask these questions at the beginning of a project, at the beginning of a day of work, at the beginning of a session of work, at the beginning of the next five minutes ad infinitum.

It forces you to become much more clear-eyed and ruthless about prioritizing the work you need to do to vs. the work you’d like to do or think maybe you’ll do.

  • All work is not created equal.
  • All work not shipped doesn’t count.
  • All resources are finite.


I don’t build my daily schedule around the myriad of minor tasks and responsibilities that make up my life, but instead let them filter between the cracks of the most important work I do.


How to become more trustworthy, from Fast Company magazine

While it seems like being honest and reliable is enough to make us trustworthy it's actually not. People trust people who notice, understand and assist them without being asked. 

Fast Company: The Three Habits Of The Most Trustworthy Person In Your Office, 2016-Apr-1 by Karissa Thacker

It’s all too easy to get locked into patterns of perceiving and behaving that don’t build trust, leaving us unaware of them and even further from understanding what things we actually can do in order to build it. As a result, our own feelings toward others—how much and whether we trust them, and vice versa—remain a bit of a mystery.

Changing that can dramatically improve how well your team works together, and it starts by understanding what the most trusted people actually do in order to get that way. Here are three of the primary habits of those who command others' trust at work.

According to @KarissaThacker

They consider the signals they're sending Are you behaving in ways that send similar signals that others can rely on you?
They take time to understand the pressure others are under We tend to trust people who listen and pay attention to us more than those who don’t.
They help out unexpectedly Make the conscious effort to do something nice that you don’t have to do.

Commit to writing down what you do

As we organize people, we are usually receive pressure to write things down. It's challenging, and you can't just do it once and be done. It needs to be a living document. At Percolate, they try to write everything down and post it on Google Docs. If you are interested in keep a group of people well organized and free to lead themselves, you should read this article. 

First Round: The only onboarding timeline you'll need, 2016 from Percolate

Nothing scales better or faster than words. The average adult reads two to three times as fast as she listens. Plus, documentation is a ready resource, while people aren’t always available.

Social learning embraced by an old dog


Geoffrey Moore became an influential business consultant long before social media was available. (His Crossing the Chasm is now in its third edition.) Recently on LinkedIn he shared how enthusiastically he has embraced social media, and listed six amazing benefits he finds. Even more amazing, the post attracted many valuable comments. You can see a couple of excerpts below, but I recommend reading both posts all the way through. 

LinkedIn: Getting Social in the Enterprise... Seven Things to Get Your Head Around, 2016-Jan-12 by Geoffrey Moore

3. Social is efficient. There is no queueing in a social network. This means principals can connect directly peer to peer and get on with whatever it is they want to get on with. Among groups, it lets people opt in to eavesdrop on conversations that may have implications for their work. It also allows for the unexpected expert to surface unprompted with an insight or a solution to the problem no one else thought of. The opportunity cost is low, and the serendipity is high.

LinkedIn: Social is Social! 2016-Jan-28 by Geoffrey Moore

Jill Rowley, Startup Advisor, Marketing Expert: I'd add Social is humanizing. Social Networks like LinkedIn and Twitter give us the ability to understand someone's identity (their skills, where they've worked, where they went to University, where they live), their relationships (to whom they're connected, what groups they're a member of, who they follow and are followed by), and their interests (what they care about, what makes them tick).