Beware the HiPPO Drone!

Posted on 05/11/2014

HiPPO graphicIf you work in tech or know a lot of west-coasters then you’ve probably heard the term HiPPO – Highest Paid Person’s Opinion. The term is going increasingly mainstream as more millennials enter the professional workforce and as the world becomes inherently flat through digital networking.

A HiPPO-Drone is someone who declares their opinion as fact and enforces said opinion without seeking more context and ignoring any context offered – even if that context comes from non-HiPPO experts in the topic. Their opinion-turned-fact-turned-plan comes out of nowhere and drops on you like something falling out of an unmanned drone. Despite all your best efforts to correct, steer or otherwise influence the HiPPO you will fail because you are now a victim of a HiPPO-drone incident.

Companies of all sizes have HiPPO drone incidents, but they become a real issue when they are a pervasive part of the culture – the HiPPO Syndrome. Traditional, very hierarchical cultures based on positional authority rather than current topical expertise are ripe breeding grounds for the HiPPO Syndrome. These companies’ cultures were formed when people moved up the hierarchy because they (in theory) knew the most about a topic and these companies still operate under the assumption that positional authority and subject matter expertise are one and the same. In today’s world this is a dangerous assumption to make.

How do you spot a HiPPO Syndrome culture? Symptoms include high turnover of outside hires, especially experienced hires in areas the company is trying to grow; decreasing ability to hire young talent and to retain them; and the tell tale sign…. when people are asked why they are doing something and the most common answer is “because HiPPO told me to”. When you reach this last sign get ready for some major market or competitive disruption to hit your company and rock it to its foundation.

In fairness, not all HiPPOs are bad or misinformed. Many are extremely capable and do keep their information, skills and perspectives fresh and sharp as the world changes. The problem is the people who have not kept pace with the changing world and refuse to open their eyes despite the best efforts of those around them to show them the way – they are the HiPPO drones in the making that you must find and remove from your culture. Let them fester and you’ll have a HiPPO Syndrome on your hands.

As an executive how can you check yourself and your organization to make sure you don’t fall prey to the HiPPO Syndrome? (please add your thoughts in the comments as well – I’m sure you have fantastic ideas and experience to share

Ask your leadership team to back up their decisions with a mix of data and qualitative input that is recent. Experience is important but so are current data and forecasted trends

Never accept as an answer “That’s the way we’ve always done it” without a further explanation of why the ways of the past are still the best and most valid approach.

Manage your talent base by bringing in new people regularly and setting a culture of learning, experimentation and innovation so your employees keep their skills fresh. You actually want to be the company that recruiters actively target to fill jobs because it means your people have leading edge skills.

Lead by example. Meet with people at all levels of your organization and listen, listen, listen. Look for the eager learners; the diamonds in the rough; the ones with the ability to think of break-through ideas and nurture them. Check your own decision-making inputs regularly – are you a HiPPO drone at times?

Ask your leadership team where their ideas are coming from and really listen to the answers. If they claim all credit, or most of it, beware. If they have a mix of inputs from a variety of people in their network, from reading current information, watching your competitors and taking learnings from other industries in addition to their own ideas then that person is a keeper and less likely to be a HiPPO drone.

Great ideas, expertise and advice for your business can and should come from anywhere in the organization. This culture is not always easy to create but in this incredibly digitally connected, flat world it is truly a must. As an executive it is one’s responsibility to create an environment free of the HiPPO Syndrome and with very few HiPPO drone incidents. Culture can be a competitive advantage if you eliminate the HiPPO Syndrome.

Peace. Out.

Posted on 03/23/2014

 

 

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Millennials are bringing a new view of priorities to the forefront of career planning for all generations.  70% of Millennials said a company’s approach to work-life balance was one of the most important factors in choosing a company to work for.  Similarly about half said a company’s dedication to diversity (walking the talk) was another top priority.

Millennials are pretty clear what they expect. They know their Peace Out criteria – when they’ll essentially say thanks but no thanks because your company / opportunity / idea doesn’t align with their goals or beliefs. As an executive you should understand the Peace Out triggers for all your employees, Millennial or otherwise.

What are the common triggers for someone to take the Peace Out route?

The Whackadoo Manager: He or she may be brilliant so some will stay for a bit, learning as much as possible as quickly as possible then leave. If, however, the manager is crazy with no upside then most will go sooner rather than later.

The Financial Checklist: Realization one has met or will never meet an important financial goal. Maybe you’ve saved up enough for that sabbatical or extended travel and it’s time to embark. Or, you know you’re underpaid and it just isn’t worth it any longer.

The Fork in the Road: You’ve simply outgrown your employer and what you want to do next the company cannot accommodate or offer.

The Hype Trumped the Reality: Your job is not holding up to the “as advertised” version. Perhaps there was a reorganization between your offer and start date or perhaps the realignment that was supposed to happen didn’t and your job just isn’t what it was proposed to be. It happens and it’s best to move on.

The Idle Minds Problem: You’re bored. Boredom is not a place to stay for long in this fast moving and evolving world. Best to go someplace where you’ll learn new things and meet new people.

The Flex Flop: You don’t have the work-life flexibility you need or want. Also commonly known as being overly micro-managed and/or the company has very outdated work policies. Sometimes this is also the cultural backlash against people who choose flexible work arrangements.

The Values Vacuum: Your personal values clash with your company’s values. Diversity, inclusion, respect for the individual, opportunities to learn and grow… all important to many and especially important to Millennials.

As an executive, it’s important to understand your employees’ Peace Out criteria and keep them in mind as you plan your hiring, rewards and retention activities. Make sure you respect the fact that everyone’s criteria will be slightly different and don’t cast your own value judgment on what is important to someone else.

Common themes in Peace Out criteria can show you where you can add value to your employees’ careers thus earning their loyalty and best work. Also knowing when employees have outgrown their roles can help you export talent across your company or in to your industry with positive impact – creating long-term fans and advocates of your company.

Personally I think it’s fantastic that Millennials are bringing these types of conversations to the forefront. Hopefully they will have a positive impact for all of us, Millennial, GenX, Boomer and more.

 

 

Meet the Mobile Generation: Millennials

Posted on 03/15/2014

This was a fun post to write and originally appeared as a guest post for Benchmark. Hope you enjoy it.

Millennials seem to be a puzzle for most brands. Born between 1982 and 2000 and numbering 78M, Millennials came of age together with the Internet and mobile phones. Technology to them is no big deal and is a helpful rather than frustrating component to getting things done and being entertained.  

According to eMarketer, 72% of Millennials have a smartphone, more than any other age group. 29% of them own an iPhone; 20% own a Samsung; and 35% own either an LG, Motorola or HTC phone meaning Android and Apple platforms reign supreme with this group. Millennials also have the highest app usage on phones and tablets.

In fact, MediaBistro says 53% of Millennials would rather give up their sense of smell than their technology.  Wow.

When it comes to mobile, Millennials’ mindset and activities tell us a lot (great Infographic from Badgeville with more):

89% prefer to choose when and where they work – so mobile technology must allow them to work from and be connected from anywhere via voice, email, social media and other apps

41% (and growing) rely solely on their mobile phones for telephone connectivity

58% of mobile shoppers are Millennials; 41% of whom have made a purchase via their smartphone – clearly they like to shop when and where they want as well

50% use their smartphone to research purchases – search and show-rooming are big with them

So as a brand, how do you tap into this mobile Millennial mayhem?

Well, if you’re selling consumer products you need to make sure you have a high quality, seamless mobile commerce experience. Mobile commerce should have fast search, good prices, integration of promotions including social media promos and be secure. You should blend the physical and virtual shopping experience so they get the most out of your mobile experience, however they choose to shop. User reviews are important to Millennials as they expect to be able to read about others’ experience with your products and to be able to share their experiences as well. Your website should have social sharing built in throughout the experience so Millennials can ask their friends about your products in advance of purchase and share their excitement when a purchase is made. Mobile apps are important for consumer services from banking , to parking meters, to all sorts of travel related services and more.

If you are selling business products or services, you want to enable as much self-service and ease of information gathering as possible. You need a phenomenal SEO strategy so your product information, reviews, articles and blogs by influencers rank high. You also should enable mobile commerce as much as possible. If you’re selling repeat value services, a mobile app strategy may be the way to go, but at a minimum you need a responsive design website that renders well on smartphones and tablets.

Mobile support is critical for all brands. No one wants to use up their battery waiting on hold with your call center. Mobile Twitter support via smartphones and tablets is a good alternative avenue for support and one Millennials in particular will gravitate to. Email support that is mobile optimized is a must-have too.

So in the end, the mobile experience of your brand isn’t an add-on experience for Millennials, it is THE experience. So put mobile at the center of your strategy if this generation is key to your success and they’re likely to reward you with engagement and repeat purchase.

International Women’s Day: Advice to My Younger Self

Posted on 03/07/2014

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Leading up to International Women’s Day, people have asked how I’ve not just survived but thrived in a business world where I am far from the norm. After over 20 years in industries that included few women, it is wonderful to see much more diversity on all facets now. We can all learn from each other if we let others in to the conversation.

 

So in response, here a dozen things I’d say to my younger self (and often do say to young women and men). Perhaps it will help some of the amazing young women and men I have the pleasure of meeting each day.

 

Never let anyone else define your dreams or tell you your dreams don’t matter, are too hard, need to be sacrificed for something else, etc.  Live your life, not some life defined by others. Breaking molds is how the world gets better.

When your industry is undergoing massive, ground-breaking change, insert yourself square in the middle of it and lead.

Fear simply points out where you need to give yourself a pep talk or learn something new. It is useful and need not be limiting.

You will often find yourself in meetings where you are the only woman in the room, but you will have more guts than all the men put together. Let that be empowering rather than frightening.

Never cede to requests to “dumb it down” and instead be inspiring so others want to learn and catch up to you.

In business, men (or anyone in a position of seniority) are not the enemy, but they often do need guidance to know how to help you, so be specific and ask for what you want and need.

Brilliant men are simply called brilliant. Brilliant women are often called intimidating. If you are called intimidating disarm them with a warm smile and say “Well I’m very good at what I do. Thank you.”  Don’t accept the intimidating label – it is overused describing brilliant, talented women.

Be the bar others aspire to reach. You will do this simply by being yourself. Authenticity is irresistible after all.

Rest is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of strength that you know when and how to reenergize yourself.

Being decisive does not make you a bitch and knowing what you want does not make you a diva – instead it means you are smart, focused and passionate about your goals.

Kindness and compassion do not make you weak, instead they are some of the most powerful capabilities a leader can have.

You will have a big, amazing life and be blessed with fantastic people in it. Be grateful for this; dream big; and never stop learning new things.

I look forward to the world becoming even more inclusive and engaging the ideas, thoughts and perspectives of so many talented people. Please share your stories and advice as well so we can all continue to learn from each other.  #IWD2014  www.internationalwomensday.com

14 Digital Imperatives for 2014

Posted on 01/01/2014

Slide1Welcome to 2014! This is the year to go “all-in” with digital marketing both as a marketing executive and for your company. As the saying goes, you can’t learn to swim if you don’t get in the water so let’s dive in.

Here are 14 things to do in 2014 – some are for your personal brand as it reflects on your company and some are for your company overall:

  • 1. Claim some LinkedIn Limelight. LinkedIn is your virtual resume, your professional credential and a key part of your personal brand that reflects directly on your company. Spiff it up, add presentations, recommendations, etc. to showcase your amazing talents.
  • 2. Go SEO yourself. Google your name and various combinations of your name, title and company. What do you find? Is this the brand you want others to see? Your search results plus your LinkedIn profile are your digital calling card as an executive so time to craft a good showing.
  • 3. Give a Tweet about Twitter.  Set up your personal profile, add some lists and get active. Really, there are no more excuse on this one.
  • 4. Get Some Digital Cred. Just like you check your credit score regularly (if not, that’s another resolution list), check your digital influence score with sites like Klout, Kred and others. They are directional but often used as screens by media and analysts for credibility.
  • 5. Measure, Monitor, Modify. Take a look at your company’s metrics and related monitoring processes and modify as needed for your current business landscape and goals. If this gets out of sync, you’re set up for a potential customer service or other digital disaster.
  • 6. Do a Social Media Check-up.  Social media trends, best practices and related laws move quickly and your policies should be updated frequently. Make sure you have good legal support here too, especially if your company operates in multiple countries. Need help? Read Cheryl Burgess and Mark Burgess’ book The Social Employee – it’s a great book.
  • 7. Clean out the Content Closet. When was the last time you did a sweeping archive of your corporate website? Many companies have years of old content, microsites and other orphaned landing pages clogging up user experience and search results. domain name tech info . Time to archive.
  • 8. Build Communities… for Real. Every CMO or marketing executive worries about press, analyst, media coverage, etc. Do you manage these influential people as a community? Do you engage them or react to them? Digital marketing can help you build more meaningful and collaborative relationships here. For inspiration, read Ted Rubin and Kathryn Rose’s book Return on Relationship
  • 9. Break Bread with your CIO. Get out of the office on a regular basis and go have a meal. Talk. Discuss strategy and trends. Get past the mutual functional frustrations and create some joint-wins. Best case you’ll have some fantastic results in 2014. Worst case you’ll have several good meals, so basically you can’t lose.
  • 10. Smile and Engage. Pick an executive professional network or charitable organization (why not both?) you love and jump in. Go to the events. Talk to people. Follow on social media. Be inspired. Be helpful. Make a difference.
  • 11. Clear the Mental Cobwebs. Go to at least one event this year, or better yet two, that forces you to talk to people you don’t know and to think about things in new ways. Some great events to try are: SXSW, iStrategy, LeWeb
  • 12. Squirm and Grow. Pilot a few new channels, new media formats or new storytelling styles with your branded content. Video, mobile, Snapchat… take a look at the broad landscape of opportunity. Yes, this will make your company squirm but trying new things, thoughtfully and strategically, makes a brand healthier. Just make sure you have goals up front, monitoring in place and a deliberate way to incorporate insights back in to your brand strategy.
  • 13. Read Online and Share. If for some reason you don’t already own an iPad or Kindle go buy one. Download the apps for your favorite publications or create a web folder of Daily Reads with links to some great sites. Read and share what you like on Twitter (see #3 above). It’s easy, just click on the Twitter share icon and you’re done. You can often share on LinkedIn too.
  • 14. Inspire Your Team. A team is only as good as its leader enables it to be. So be grateful for the people who make your company great; set big, bold goals then get out of the way and let them do their magic; be a champion for new learning; foster talent for today and tomorrow. You can follow some inspirational people online as well. Try @LollyDaskal and @MeghanMBiro on Twitter and on LinkedIn you can follow all sorts of thought leaders from Richard Branson to Deepak Chopra.

Here’s to a great 2014!  #14for2014

Decisiveness is the Cure for Data Overload

Posted on 12/02/2013

binary data Executives today are bombarded with data… big data, small data, trend reports, real-time monitoring… there is no escape.  Increasingly you hear people say things like “the data says…” or “the data concludes that…” Data is very helpful in making decisions but data cannot make the decision for you. We should not attribute human characteristics to data – data is numbers and numbers don’t talk or draw conclusions, people do. Are we losing the ability to make decisions rapidly and decisively by over-relying on data?

Being decisive has always been a critical executive skill and today a CMO needs to be decisive like never before. CMOs are getting more comfortable with the barrage of data coming their way but this new state of data overload requires shifts in how we make decisions. You need to decide what you need to know to make your decision so you can clear out the clutter. You have to ask yourself (and train your organization to do the same):

 

What is critical to know to make this decision?

What is helpful to know, but not required to make this decision?

What clouds the picture and should be ignored?

Where is the information you need?

Who can help with insights on the data or decision itself? 

Having a good network makes being decisive easier. You likely know someone who has faced a similar decision and who can give you his or her point of view. I love to ask these people what are the three things they wish someone had told them before they made this decision. The answers are insightful and insights that you won’t find in the data itself. In the avalanche of digital information, don’t ignore one of the most tried and true ways to clear your head and make a decision – go talk to people.

Of course sometimes you have to go with gut feel and make a decision because you’re either out of time to collect the critical information or the cost to get that information outweighs the benefit of delaying an answer. Knowing where you made necessary trade-offs in critical information will let you know where you may need to watch for fallout afterwards. Your network can help you here as well with where to look for potential issues or hidden benefits.

Being decisive takes practice so challenge yourself to be decisive on a few things each and every day. Leverage your network to help and pay it forward to help others. The peace of mind of decisiveness is much better than the stress of indecisiveness both for you and your organization.

The Currency of Being Current

Posted on 11/02/2013

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Being current… an important lifelong objective of one’s career. But what does being current really mean? Is being current enough in the fast-paced business world today? On balance you need to be current at a minimum and leading edge on at least a few topics.

Being current as an ongoing state is no small feat.  You have to read frequently and regularly a variety of publications (online and off) from a variety of authors, journalists and bloggers. You need to go out and talk to people both online and off to hear thoughts, perspectives and spot early trends. Participating in conversations is crucial to staying current. These conversations can also help you with feedback and information to help you hone your point of view on the topic at hand. And yes, you need a point of view that is informed and has a spin of some sort that is uniquely your own. Being current will at least make you interesting and help you get by. In your career this will keep you in-the-hunt as they say from a talent perspective but may not set you apart when the competition is tough.

Being leading edge involves being current overall plus choosing one or a small number of specific topics where you seek to be an expert or at least more of an expert than the average person. To do this you need to have more to your point of view – you need theories, possibilities and insights into the what’s next or what could be next. You need to paint a picture for people, hear their perspectives and help them reshape their thinking with the new information you provide. You also want to connect with other leading edge people in your topic of choice to help you shape your perspectives as well. This creates differentiation for you and a memorable uniqueness that sets you apart from the pack. This is what will garner you a higher salary, fee or other compensation. Being leading edge will also help you create a rewarding network of people in your life – something that is far more valuable than any monetary amount.

The trick here is not trying to be leading edge on everything. Besides being exhausting to attempt, no one likes a know-it-all. Increasingly in the digital age with communications becoming more casual or human-sounding, you need to be an approachable expert. Authenticity and approachability are differentiators in addition to the topic you’ve chosen. Be real; connect; be yourself. Put it all together and you master the currency of being current.

Meet the Ultimate Digital Team

Posted on 10/02/2013

madman-mathman

I love my day job running the digital organization for a large and well respected brand, Accenture. Often I’m asked about the changing role of the CMO and the rise of the new kid on the C-suite block, the Chief Digital Officer or CDO. This usually leads to a conversation on what skills make up a good digital organization. Today, you need a very different set of talent versus a few years ago.. You need a mix of generations, of men and women, of different life experiences and languages. You need people who see the world from any number of different points of view and who wake up every day curious as to what the world can and will do next. Beyond that, for a great digital team you need:

The Creative Mastermind: People who can dream up all kinds of ideas, but mostly who can dream up amazing and engaging experiences. Whether you are reaching consumers or businesses is irrelevant – you’re reaching people. These folks don’t just think outside the box, they won’t be bound by even the existence of the box.

The Data Guru: These people are happiest living in the big sand box of big data. Nothing gets them more jazzed than terabytes of data to elegantly organize in agile, fast databases accessed through the romance language of data, the query.

The Foundational Analyst: They are the data guru’s best friends. These people who don’t just see a bunch of numbers, but rather see trends, see spots where there should be trends but aren’t. They are always asking “what would happen if we sliced the data like this…”

The Integration Maven: If the creative mastermind dreams up amazing possibilities, the integration mavens sew together these dreams into pragmatic, compelling real world experiences. They artfully create ways to surround an audience with information, conversation and a reason to continually engage.

The Amplification Ninja: They are the day-traders of data, the ones who can see the small and large opportunities flying by in the world of real-time analytics and immediately engage to grow your results. They are very good at amplification plans, but don’t expect them to only go by the plan. Their secret sauce is knowing when and how to tweak plans in real time; to look for the opportunities and go for it.

The Big Thinker: These individuals have the gift of making the seemingly impossible possible. They live out on the edge of what will be next, shaping new ideas, programs, channels, experiences, partnerships, you name it. Big Thinkers are your masterminds of market differentiation.

The Conversationalist: The human voice of your brand, the emotional connectors, the story-tellers, the empathizers… conversationalists bring to life the story of your company, products, customers and employees and most importantly they share these stories and look for new ones as well.

The Travel Guide: Able to create multitudes of unique journeys in a single campaign, your travel guides let your customers feel like they are getting unique, personally relevant engagement without breaking the marketing bank. They know how to build, scale and tailor programs and campaigns to deliver on results that feed the big data beast.

If you lead a marketing organization and especially if your mix is heavily digital, you need a new blend of creative and quantitative skills – you need the mad-men plus math-men dream team. If you can find these skills mixed with the other characteristics mentioned above you’ll not only create fantastic results, you’re guaranteed to learn a lot and have a bunch of fun along the way.

Balancing Image, Brand, And Reputation

Posted on 08/25/2013

People struggle with “What is my personal brand?” and “How do I create the right image?” Usually people put brand, reputation and image all under personal branding, but each piece is in fact different. Below are my thoughts. I hope you enjoy them and will add your thoughts as well.  

Brand

Brand is what makes you uniquely you. As I’ve said before, everyone has their freak flag of value – things they are uniquely great at. Pick two to five things you are uniquely great at and love to do. These can and will change over your career and  revisiting your brand each year is a good practice.

For example, do you work best on white-space problems that have no clear solution? Then creative problem solving as part of your brand. In the end, brand is about what you do. You can change your brand by learning new things and shifting the focus of your work and what you talk about to these new things.

Reputation

Reputation is all about the how you deliver your brand pillars and your consistency over time. Reputation is a continuum, not a point in time. Every day you make your reputation better or worse on balance. Reputation is made up of two areas – your personality style and your action style.

Your personality style is how you communicate, how you speak, your body language and your fashion style. Do you command a certain presence simply by walking in the room? Can you inspire others by your words or turn naysayers to supporters with a few conversations? We’ve all said things like “He/she knows this space well. They look like a total mess, but don’t let the looks fool you.” or… “I don’t know how they do it, but they’ll have the whole group on board in no time. Somehow they have the magic to align people.”

Your action style is how you deliver on your brand focuses more on your organizational skills, planning skills, execution capability, problem solving and how close to the stated goals you come over time. We’ve all said things like “He/she is brilliant, but it will be chaos right up to the last minute and then it will all come together” or… “He/she will give you a solid plan and not stop until it’s delivered and you are happy with the result. They are a get-it-done person.”

Managing your reputation requires checking your ego at the door and seeking feedback on a regular basis. Trusted mentors and colleagues are invaluable for this. Often our own perception of our reputation is not completely aligned with how the rest of the world sees us. So it is a good idea to periodically do a 360 feedback process. There are many services out there you can use, just make sure you get anonymous feedback so people are more honest and that you solicit feedback from people can either hire your or endorse you. Don’t fall in to the all to common trap of asking for feedback from people you think will tell you all good things. This should be a reality view, not simply an endorsement of what you want to hear.

Image

Image is the collective perception others have of you. Image usually comes in to play when someone has not met or worked with you before. A good digital footprint is critical to effectively managing your image. If someone is considering hiring you or is looking for people with your type of brand value, they will absolutely do a search on the topic area connected to your brand to see if you show up as well as your name to see if your brand holds up. They will then see whom they have in common with you and seek perspective on your reputation. A good way to think about your image is the collective reach and perception of your brand and reputation combined.

Brand, reputation and image – the three keys to a successful career presence. All can be managed well with simple focus.

 

You Are the Captain of Your Digital Destiny

Posted on 07/07/2013

At least a few times a week; someone asks me how to outsource his or her digital footprint. I find these conversations hilarious. Imagine sending someone else to a cocktail party to act and engage as you? Or what if you sent someone else to impersonate you in a major business negotiation without telling the other parties? Most people find these ideas absurd because outsourcing yourself does not work in real life and it does not work in your digital life either.

Outsourcing yourself in the digital world gives the appearance that you:

–  Have no real personality so why would anyone want to connect with you anyway

–  Are not very bright so you have to rely on others for the intelligent things to say or clever comebacks so again, why would someone connect with you

–  Are exceedingly high maintenance and no one likes to hang with a diva / divo for very long 

Odds are you are not an international superstar so it is time to make peace with the fact that building a great digital footprint is important to your current and future success.  And like all things critical to your success, it means you have to dive in and make it happen. Yes, you do in fact have to be the captain of your digital destiny.

Work on getting the basics right. I wrote a post titled SEO Yourself that is a good, general digital plan. For your social media presence you should aim for the following as general rules of thumb:

Name It and Claim It:

LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook should be your foundational profiles. Fill in your profiles completely and then for Facebook decide if you want that to be more personally social or broadly social and set your privacy settings accordingly. Add other channels that are fun or important to your goals such as Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Vine, YouTube and so on.

No One Likes a Real or Digital Snob:

Do not be LinkedIn snob and require people to enter your email address to send an invite to connect with you. If you do, you’ll look like you’re not serious and only have a profile “for show”. Ditto with having an “about me” profile description on any social media channel that is written in the third person. Unless you are channeling your inner Bob Dole and refer to yourself in the third person in real life, speak in first person in all your social profiles.

Connect with Yourself to Connect with Others:

Cross-link your profiles so people can find you more easily and learn about you without always having to bounce out for a Google search. Use the same picture on your core social media sites and make sure the photo is of you and looks like you.  A photo on a social media site should enable someone to recognize you at an event and have a meaningful conversation with you so please no dog or baby photos as profile pics. Hire a professional photographer and look like a real, put together person.

To Be Interesting, Be Interested:

A senior executive at a major global corporation once said to me “Katrina, I think to be interesting you must first be interested, do you agree?” Of course I did and had not heard something so crucial be worded so succinctly – it is now one of my favorite quotes. So be interested – read, follow people, learn. As Diane Sawyer says… wake up curious every day. Then think, comment, engage, let your ideas and personality come through and you will be interesting as a result.

Creating a great digital footprint for yourself is both fun and crucial. So dive in and make it happen. Look for mentors and tools to help and be the captain of your digital destiny.  See you online!