Extra Points: Keeping the Faith

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40“Well the good old days weren’t always so good, and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems…”

The lyrics from the classic Billy Joel song, Keeping the Faith should ring more true today than ever. Social media platforms – specifically Facebook – are filled with people decrying the state of our politics and government. Intelligent, bright people are hurling their own invective aimed at one side or another. The vanity fair platform is littered with op-eds bemoaning that things have never been this bad; that the country has never been so polarized; and incivility is at an all-time low (or high depending on your definition).

Really? Even I’m old enough to remember Watergate, skyrocketing inflation, and nefarious pictures of a philandering Gary Hart that ultimately doomed his presidential bid. None of us will personally remember the vitriolic 1860 presidential election featuring Stephen Douglas and some oaf named Abraham Lincoln. The debates, dialogue, and political cartoons mocking both men might actually make Donald Trump wince. In fact, it was so acrimonious, that states vowed that they would secede from the union – take their ball and go home – if Lincoln prevailed. He did, and they did.

This country is 240 years old this year. We’ve endured slavery, women’s suffrage, prohibition, mafia battles, and assassinations of our leaders. We’ve had good, bad, and mediocre presidents; leaders that disagreed violently (Washington and Adams virtually hated each other); and global problems that chanced annihilation of countries. Yet, here we are.

The truth is that our country is resilient. We are resilient because regardless of what political party owns the White House or Congress, what individual is Commander in Chief, or who sits on the Supreme Court, we are a people that find a way. The same goes for the good people in Paris and Brussels that are resilient in the wake of unthinkable violence. We as average people are fighters…which makes us more than “ordinary.”

To unleash your potential in life, you can’t allow the world around you to dictate your mindset or create fear. Instead of feeling a sense of dread or blaming others that seemingly are in control, take control yourself. Be opportunistic. Be bold. Be resilient. The alternative stinks. We aren’t much different than the humans who came before us, or who will follow us. The good old days brought with them a lot of violence, discrimination, and enmity. We can control tomorrow and make it better than what it seems…


Quote of the Week:


“All men are equal before fish.”

~ Herbert Hoover

If you’d like to hear more about this concept, listen to my live Periscope broadcast today at 10 am PST. Information below…

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Politics & Social Media: Danger zone for business

From my September column in the Kitsap Business Journal….
September 5, 2012 @ 3:48pm | Dan Weedin

It’s September and we are heading down the backstretch of this political season. For business people, this means you are entering a danger zone.

Fear not, I am NOT the political pundit this month. Far from it. But, I am here to warn you of the dangers of “mouthing off” with a click of a “post.” The consequences could cost you business.

Let me preface by saying that I have no problem with business people supporting a candidate or a cause. You have every right to voice your opinion and advocate whatever positions you like. That doesn’t mean you should be a social media bully.

In an era where Facebook and Twitter send your sound bytes viral in milliseconds, you may find yourself wishing you could turn back time and control your finger. Your clients and prospects may solely be on Facebook for fun. In fact, the odds say that they are.

With that in mind, I present to you Dan’s 10 Rules for Surviving the Political Season:

Tip #1 — Proofread your posts. Don’t write your last line; click send; and walk away feeling triumphant. You probably aren’t. If you’re angry or agitated, you probably wrote something you shouldn’t have.

Tip #2 — Avoid “fighting words.” It never ceases to amaze me what people will say when they don’t have to say it to your face. Case study — I had a “friend” write on a Facebook post that people with a certain line of thinking were “knuckle draggers and crack pots.” This was the husband of someone I sent business to! If you’re using verbiage like this to attract attention, be careful what attention you will get.

Tip #3 — Avoid using “labels.” Liberals, Democrats, Conservatives, Republicans, Tea Partiers, whatever. By lumping them all together, you may include people you don’t want to. Some of those may even be your clients! Many Facebook “posters” are notorious for lumping in outliers by enlarging their demographics through generalities.

Tip #4 — Don’t enter into a war of words online. I’ve been guilty of this myself. No good can come from it. Either back off, or pick up the phone and call. If you don’t know the person well enough to call, then why do you even care?

Tip #5 — Beware of Pinterest. I know it’s the new hot craze. You can’t go through Facebook without seeing a gazillion posters (90 percent are absurd, based on my personal scientific study). When you start posting these things, people will assume you are fully supportive of the meaning. The problem is that the meaning may not be all so clear.

Tip #6 — Don’t take things personally. People have different opinions. It’s still okay to have them as friends or do business with them. There is a direct correlation where the less fighting words are used, the less likely someone will take something personally. Just saying…

Tip #7 — Don’t be angry. Anger usually leads to rash judgments, vitriolic posts and hurt feelings. Do you really want to hurt your potential customers’ (as well as current customers’) feelings? Anger tends to subside quickly; hurt feelings not so much.

Tip #8 — Be open to learn. When positions are cited without rancor or mean-spiritedness, I feel I can actually learn something new. I may not ultimately agree, but I am happy for the discourse and opportunity to grow.

Tip #9 — Have some perspective. These elections will all be over in a few months and the winners and losers will all go their own ways. Your words may linger on forever with those who read them.

Tip #10 — Don’t engage in political debate on social media. This will save you from yourself. Social media has the ability to take your position, inflate it past what it really is, attach a really mean voice, and shout it to the world. If you’re in business, the only thing you want shouted to the world is how you can help them, not whether you favor donkeys or elephants!

Bonus — A really large majority of Facebook “posters” aren’t in business. They have nothing to lose. They can break all my rules and be no worse for wear. If you get into battles with them, your posts are available for all your community to see (you knew that, right?). You may be slinging mud at your brother-in-law in Hoboken, but your best client may read it.

I’m not perfect. I’ve broken a few of my rules over the years (how do you think I thought of them?). I can tell you that as things get heated up, I will keep my opinions off the Facebook news feed. You and I may chat about them over a cold beer, but you won’t be “liking” or seething from them online.

My recommendation to you as a business professional is that you adhere to my rules, focus on building your business, and dodge the mud!

Dan Weedin is a Poulsbo-based management consultant, speaker and mentor. He leads an executive peer-to-peer group in Kitsap County where he helps executives improve personally, professionally and organizationally by enhancing leadership skills. He is one of only 35 consultants in the world to be accredited as an Alan Weiss Master Mentor. You can reach Dan at 360-697-1058; email at dan@danweedin.com or visit his website at www.danweedin.com.

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Alan Weiss on Politics and Social Media

Image

Amen!

This was from Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, my upcoming column in the Kitsap Business Journal is precisely on this subject. I had not talked to Alan about it, but I knew we were on the same page. I have no issue with who you want to vote for or what your political opinion is. State your support; show encouragement; and bring up points to support your cause. Heck, feel free to debate. But, for goodness sakes, stop the incessant mud slinging, labeling, and name calling. You never know what person that is important to you that you offend with your language, not your political point of view.

Alan’s post today…

This week’s focus point: Whatever your politics, people who resort to demonizing the opposition and launching ad hominem attacks simply have no new ideas themselves. We find this in business all the time in those who resist and attack any change initiative, as if they are the organization’s immune system. There are “professional disagreers” on the social media platforms who really need to get a life and stop finding fault with others’ ideas without having any of their own. If you don’t think someone is right, illustrate a better way. Light a candle, don’t curse the darkness.

Monday Morning Perspective: Two old men. Enemies who spoke different languages and couldn’t even agree on a way to prevent the world from blowing up. Yet there they were, embracing like brothers on world television at the simple act of a man jumping over a bar. — Roone Arledge of ABC on the most important thing he ever broadcast: Kruschev and Averil Harriman celebrating Valery Brumel’s record high jump in 1963.

Too Much In Your Face(book)

When Facebook started years ago (not really sure because now it seems to have been around forever) it was for college kids. They posted what school they went to, who they were partying with, and what they would do over the summer. Then the adults figured it out. And according to many young people…ruined it. I’m starting to think they are right.

Here’s what adults have inflicted on Facebook…

  • Facebook has become a venue for a plethora of sappy posters, ramblings, and other inanities. Last year, I had to block all the dumb games. Now my News Feed is filled with these posters. I’ve found one that was funny and I passed it on. Ironically it was on social media. The rest are mostly awful. Now, they are all over the place!
  • It’s election season and I may have to take a 6-month hiatus. It’s bad enough to see a gazillion signs littered around our streets; horrid and often inaccurate commercials; and political debates that have become a circus. Now, I get to see every party – Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Tea Party, Tea Drinkers, and the Field – tell me their opinions and attitudes. I get the right to voice your opinion and overall, that’s okay. The problem is the way it now is delivered. This leads me the next bullet point…
  • If you’re having a political conversation or discussion in person, you have more at stake to be civil. Now, even with your profile picture showing, it seems acceptable to talk like a belligerent drunk. Bad language, name calling, and vitriol unleashed. It used to be that Facebook was on par with walking around a cocktail party. Now, its 1:30 in the morning in a bar and chairs are flying.
  • I don’t care if you are a Republican or Democrat (or one of the others); Pro-Life or Pro-Choice; For Gay Marriage Against Gay Marriage; Baby Boomer or Gen Xer; Like Cats or Hate Cats; Like the Patriots or Hate the Patriots; or on any side of any controversy; do yourself a favor. Be nice. Don’t think that just because someone may have a different opinion than you (and on Facebook you have no idea), that they are damaged. You never know who may be reading and how it may affect your ability to do business with them, or even to remain friends. I think the kids get this better than the adults do.

While I’m firmly positioned on my Soap Box, I’m going to continue…what the heck…I’m probably being “DE-friended” all over the place:

  • Think twice about posting a picture of you with a huge cocktail in front of you as your profile picture. Yes, you’re undoubtedly well over 21 years old and it’s legal for you to drink. Just remember that a growing number of employers check out Facebook profiles prior to hiring. Even if they can’t see your wall, they can see your profile picture. Just saying…
  • Think about what you can do to enhance relationships and improve others personally and professionally (for you business people), rather than insulting the other person’s intelligence.
  • Voice your opinion. Just don’t assume the people on the other side (normally pretty close to 50%) is damaged. They just have a different opinion. Voice your opinion maturely.
  • Don’t swear or curse (and that includes all the funky acronyms and spellings – we get it). It doesn’t ever show well for you.
  • Use this amazing technology to re-connect with family and friends; help others in their business; promote the value your business can offer others; learn about others; promote your favorite charities; and share photos of your life with your friends.
  • Be careful what you say. You never know who is reading. Be certain you’re willing to standby what you say and how you said it.

Okay, I’m stepping off my Soap Box. Facebook is about to go public. I’m certain it’s because they see a huge opportunity to make money as they watch adults turn this once innocuous platform for kids into a place where adults can aggressively spar and spit while sitting comfortably behind their computer screen or cell phone. As 2012 moves closer to elections, my guess is it will only get worse. My guess is that when it does, many adults and kids alike will begin to be more careful about who they “hang out” with…

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved