The Secret Sauce to Leadership is Be Genuine

January 16, 2017 Leave a comment


One day I was told that the key to leadership is for a leader to be genuine.  I totally agree and thus the reason for this blog post.  A great boss or manager needs to be genuine to be a great leader.  They care about their employees and the organization they work for.  They focus on their employees and listen to them.  People gravitate toward genuine leaders because they can trust them.  Genuine leaders walk their talk every day.

People tend to stay at an organization if they work for a genuine manager. It has been proven that employees don’t leave companies due to money but rather due to people, specifically a bad manager, a bad leader. It is beneficial to the organization that they hire managers who are genuine.  And the organization should focus on educating managers to be genuine and getting rid of bad managers quickly before losing good employees.

So what does genuine mean?  The dictionary definition of genuine is: 1) actual, real, or true :  not false or fake <genuine gold> and 2) sincere and honest <She showed genuine interest.>.

Jack Welch, former General Electric, CEO, stated, “Only two word matters for leaders today; truth and trust.” I agree with this quote but my quote would be “Only words that matters for leaders today are be genuine.”

Some key points about Genuine Leaders (GLs):

  • They are Human.  GLs understand that it is OK to be uncomfortable dealing with tough decisions and people.  They need to show vulnerability to their direct reports.  GLs believe in the golden rule.  Treat others as you want to be treated.  GLs treat others with respect because they believe that they are no better than anyone else.  GLs focus on people and not on themselves. GLs are good at reading people and adjusting to make others feel comfortable.  They know that praise goes a long, long way.
  • They are Communicators.  GLs are good listeners. They focus on what is being said to them instead of preparing their response.  By listening and asking questions shows that they care about the individual and respect them. Employees want to be heard and listened to.  GLs respond back to their employees, quickly and efficiently.   They explain why tasks are necessary and communicate the organization’s priorities.
  • They are Honest. GLs don’t lie to their direct reports.  They might not be able to tell them everything, especially if the organization is a public company but definitely do not lie to them.  Being open with your employees makes them feel valued.  GLs follow thru and live up to their commitments.  GLs keep their promises.  They don’t make excuses.  If in budget for an employee to attend a conference and then the budget is cut where they can’t go, a GL explains the situation and offer alternatives.  They review status reports, expense reports and time off requests quickly and provide concise feedback when necessary.  Employee reviews are important and delivered on time.  GLs share information and knowledge generously.  GLs don’t cover up their mistakes or the mistakes of the organization.  They need to be as transparent as possible.
  • They care about the Development of their direct reports.  GLs are easy to turn to for advice and help.  They create opportunities for their direct reports.  They discuss and make sure that employee growth occurs (personal and professional).  GLs care about training for their direct reports.  They want their direct reports to be successful.  GLs discuss with their direct reports what training is necessary and makes sure it happens.  GLs take the time to instill company values and good work habits in their direct reports.  GLs give feed back in a calm manner, and makes sure that it is actionable.

A few relevant quotes:

“Great leaders know how to work the room and make every single person feel as if he or she is being spoken to directly.” – Travis Bradberry

“Great leaders don’t blame the tools they are given.  They work to sharpen them.” – Simon Sinek

A few other thoughts about GLs:

  1. Are confident in themselves and their ability
  2. Do not covet recognition and often give credit away
  3. Do not brag about their accomplishments
  4. Want what is right and not what is best for them
  5. Support their team by giving them the tools and knowledge they need
  6. Are not corporate yes men and do not copy the latest fads

How do you feel when the following happens:

  • You send a thoughtful email on an important subject to your boss and you get no reply, even though you see emails from your boss to others on less important topics
  • You submit a status report on time and it takes 2 weeks for your boss to review it
  • You submit a vacation request and it takes over 2 weeks for your boss to approve it
  • Your boss runs away from making tough decisions or avoids conflicts with employees
  • A project you are involved in changes and there is no discussion by your boss on why it changed
  • Your boss checks their phone constantly during meetings when they should be focusing on the discussion of those in the meeting
  • You are given a task with an unrealistic deadline, you work long hours to get it done and then the task is never discussed again by your boss
  • Your boss lies to you about the status of a project, an employment hire or a budget item
  • Your boss cancels a 1on1 meeting with you at the last moment due to lesser priorities or their poor planning
  • Your boss takes all the credit for something that was done by someone else or the team
  • Your boss says that training is a top priority but an educational training that you were going to attend is cut from the budget with no discussion
  • Your boss delegates a task to you without asking what else is on your plate
  • Your boss gives a task to you without giving you all the information you need to begin the task
  • Your boss assigns you a task without telling you the reason for the task and its priority

Do any of the above make you feel like a valued employee, that your boss is doing their job or that they are being genuine.  When the above happened to me (which they all did) I knew that my boss was not a genuine leader and it was time for me to leave the organization or move to another department.

I dedicate this post to my friend, Adam Shiell, who told me one day at work, “the secret sauce to leadership is be genuine.”  So true.  If you are a manager, I hope you strive to be a great genuine leader.  I will try to be the best leader I can be by following my words in this post.

I want to learn from you. What do you think is the secret sauce to leadership?  Share your leadership thoughts in the comments section.  Also send me your examples of when your manager has not been genuine with you.


Time for the Blog Review

January 10, 2017 Leave a comment

blogIf you have a blog, you need to at least once a year (normally at end of year, calendar or fiscal), to review it to see if changes need to be made to it.  Get the marketing team together, brainstorm about your blog and document changes you want to make to it.  Discuss what worked, what you are excited about in your blog, what took you the longest to do and are you happy  with your blog writers (even if it is you).

“You can only know where you’re going if you know where you’ve been.” – James Burke, Science Historian

I would break your review into 4 parts, and maybe break these parts into separate brainstorming meetings:

  1. Goals and Feelings
  2. Content
  3. Design and Tools
  4. Promotion and Measurement

In regards to the blog goals and feelings, discuss the following:

  • Did you meet your goals for the blog
  • What should your new goals be
  • What were your mistakes that you made that made you miss your goals
  • What is your overall feeling about your blog
  • What could you have done better
  • How much time was devoted to the blog content creation, posting and promotion

In regards to blog content, discuss the following:

  • Did you have the right content
  • Was the length of the blog posts the right length
  • How were the images
  • What about the titles
  • What were the most popular posts
  • What were the least popular posts
  • Who wrote the blog posts
  • What comments did you get on the posts and how was your response to these comments
  • How were your key words in the posts
  • How were the calls to action in the posts
  • How was the blog integrated into your campaigns
  • Should any posts be retired
  • Should any posts be updated
  • Can you re-purpose any posts

In regards to blog design and tools, discuss the following:

  • Are you happy with your blogging platform
  • Are you satisfied with the site that you get your images
  • Are you happy with your blogging design template
  • Is your blog reader friendly and pleasing to the eye
  • Have you stayed consistent with colors and fonts
  • Is it time to split off and create a new blog
  • Is your blog description still correct
  • Does your blog match your brand
  • Do you have the proper social media sharing for your blog
  • Are you doing enough linking to other blog posts and your website

In regards to blog promotion and measurement, discuss the following:

  • Who is your blog audience (customers, partners, influencers, prospects)
  • How did you get your blog in front of new readers
  • How can you be more efficient and effective in your blog promotion
  • How are you measuring the blog currently and what were the results
  • Any changes necessary to the measurements in the future
  • How quickly can you do these measurements
  • How are you communicating these measurements to others

If you haven’t already do so already and if you have a blog, now is the time to get the team together to discuss blog goals, feelings, content, design, tools, promotion and measurement.  Make your blog even better in the upcoming year.  Hope that this post was helpful.  Would love to hear comments on your blog review.




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Marketing Series for Legal Professionals

December 28, 2016 Leave a comment

This is my 11th blog post for lawyers and law firms this year and I thought I would have one post that combined the previous 10 posts into one post for easy access.  The series of posts covered a variety of topics including nurture marketing, social media, blogging, digital presence and planning.

You need to market your law firm to survive and grow.  There is a lot of competition out there.  Selling legal services requires it be a trust sale.  Marketing is different for all law firms depending on your size, your specialty and your geographic area.  Tailor your marketing to fit you.  Hope that these ten marketing related posts for law firms helps.  Enjoy.


Nurture Marketing for Gaining Legal Clients

Client Retention for Law Firms

How Should Law Firms Measure Social Media

Gain Clients with Email and Social Media Marketing

Why a Law Firm Should Have a Blog

Law Firm’s should Review their Social Media Efforts

LinkedIn – A Few Suggestions for Lawyers on Its Use

Lawyers, Please Firm Up Your Digital Presence Now!

10 Ways to Successfully Market Your Law Firm

Time for Law Firm Marketing Planning

Hope that these posts were beneficial to your law firm.  Let me know if I can assist you in any way.

Time for Law Firm Marketing Planning

December 19, 2016 Leave a comment

At least once a year and preferably 4 times a year, a law firm needs to plan their marketing efforts for the future, in order to perform efficient and effective marketing activities, that will allow them to attract and retain clients.  And the plan should include an estimated budget, necessary resources and calendar of activities.

Make sure you adapt your plan as additional information comes in that affects your clients, your legal specialty, your internal resources or your law firm.  The firm needs to quickly respond to change so that it has a competitive advantage over other law firms. Welcome change.  Don’t be reactionary, be proactive.   This post contains my thoughts on the marketing planning for law firms.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” – Benjamin Franklin

A photo by JOHN TOWNER.

Communication – As always stated, communication is key.  Make sure while creating your marketing plan that you have gotten feedback from others in the firm.  And make sure you gather feedback from those individuals after you announce the plan as they might have additional information that you didn’t have when creating the plan.  You want to establish trust with others in your firm.  Living up to your plan goes a long way with others.  Also don’t forget to create a marketing plan for your marketing plan.  Do internal  communication so that others in your organization know what the plan is.  Also put the plan in a public place, like an intranet, so that others in the firm can see it at any time.

Internal – During your planning determine what tools you need to be more efficient and effective in your marketing activities.  Maybe you need to implement a marketing automation solution like Hubspot, an email tool like Constant Contact or maybe a new social media tool like Hootsuite.

Calendar – Establish a calendar and make sure that events, webinars and campaigns are listed on an estimated calendar or timeline. Don’t overload activities in a certain month.  Make sure activities are spread out over the year

Alignment – You can’t do a plan without knowing the firm’s objectives.  Have them in place as they affect budget and the activities that need to be done.  Don’t want to waste time or money on activities that won’t happen.  Make sure that plan is aligned with the plans of the firm.  Mention in the plan how the firm wants to be positioned and known in the market

Resources – Have a discussion on if you need additional resources to accomplish your plan.  Do you need a marketing coordinator or do you need to establish a relationship with an outside writer for blog posts?

Budget – As you determine the activities that are on the plan, determine an estimated cost for these activities so that an estimated budget can be determined.

Competition – It is OK to review your competition and tailor your marketing plan to beat the competition.  Who are the 3 law firms that you consider to be your 3 largest competitors.  Check out their website.  Determine what they doing for social media and blogging.

Activities – Your plan should contain brief thoughts on many items including listing the possible activities that the firm will be doing such as:

  • Events – Decide what events (trade shows and conferences) that the firm will attend, exhibit at and present at.  When finalized put these events on your marketing calendar.  Check out my post on what to do for events and my post on how to promote your event.
  • Social Media – Firm up your goals for social media activities such as how often to post and what are the objectives for each of the social media channels. Social media needs to be integrated with other marketing activities and your marketing plan should keep this in mind.  Check out my post on social media for law firms.
  • Webinars – Determine your expertise, select presenters, select when webinars should occur and get them on your marketing calendar.
  • Website – Decide on what major changes you need to make your site.  Maybe you need a new page describing a specialty.
  • Associations and Directories – Review which ones to continue to be apart of or which new ones to join.  Make a public list of renewal dates, costs and objectives of each of the associations and directories that your firm partakes in so that it can be referenced by others in the firm.  Make sure the costs for these are in the budget.
  • Collateral – Determine the major collateral pieces that should be created.  Review current collateral and see if any of them need a refresh.  Maybe this is the year to do a law firm brochure, or an eBook on your legal specialty or an infographic.
  • Blog – Finalize the frequency of posts and the types of posts.  Also determine the next few blog post topics and the writers for these posts.  Check out my blog post on why law firms should be blogging.
  • Emails – Figure out the email sends (either target or newsletter) that will done for finding new clients or informing existing clients.  Check out my blog post on emails.
  • Campaigns – Campaigns contain various marketing activities such as webinars and email blasts that are connected around a specific theme.  These campaigns need to be integrated for effectiveness and done at the proper time.  Firm up the activities for the campaigns and the appropriate call to actions.  Check out my blog post on nurture campaigns.

Additional Thoughts:

  1. An item that should be included in the plan is community involvement and cause marketing.  Have a honest discussion with others in your firm on how your firm can help others and hooking up with an organization that you can work with.
  2. Make sure that you review the past year on what worked and what didn’t work.  Make sure in the marketing plan that you increase what worked and fix what didn’t work.
  3. It is important that in the plan you have included marketing to existing clients.  Maybe it is time for a client newsletter or a client survey.  Client retention is important to a law firm and feel free to check out my blog post regarding the subject.
  4. Consider having something new from the previous year in your marketing planning.  Maybe it is time to start a blog or create a firm overview video or join the local chamber of commerce.  You need consistency in marketing but you need to be changing as well.  Keep it fresh.
  5. Make sure you have a solid foundation as continuous attention to marketing fundamentals enhances agility and efficiency.  Check out my blog post on a marketing foundation.
  6. Don’t spend so much time on the plan that you don’t execute.  I love the Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines quote, “We have a strategic plan, it’s called ‘doing things’.”

Good luck in your planning.  Let me know if I can help in any way.

Photo Credit: (125)

Reflections for 2016 and Words for 2017

December 15, 2016 Leave a comment

reflectionmountainIt’s that time of year where you reflect on the year that is ending. And make some resolutions and plans for 2017. This is a different type of post for me.  This is a personal journey post which hopefully allows people get to know me better.

2016 was a year in transition for me.  I had a job change which is never easy but something I looked to be a great opportunity for me.  I enjoyed my run at Evisions, a software company in Orange County, CA, but it was time for a change.  I miss the great people there but still stay in touch with them.

I had 2 great vacations with my wife, Barb, to places that I have never been before (Olympic Peninsula in Washington and Florida Keys).  Great times and have fond memories from those trips to the far corners of our great country.  Beautiful areas and highly recommend go to these areas sometime in their lives.

I also started blogging again in 2016 and am really proud that I accomplished my personal goal of a blog post everyday in the month of July.  I wrote 53 blog posts during 2017 which averages to 1 a week which was not a goal but an accomplishment that I feel good about.  I became a better writer and blogger during this period starting in July.    Writing is a big part of being a marketing person.  I am also very proud that I learned the HubSpot Marketing Automation solution and became Inbound certified.

Here are a few things that I will keep in mind for 2017:

  • Continue to help others when I can with my time, knowledge and money.  I need to continue my networking with my friends and connections.
  • Understand that change is inevitable.  I embrace change.  I am prepared for change.
  • Challenge myself more especially in the area of weight reduction.  It is important to listen to my mind and body, especially during stressful periods.
  • Do a better job of understanding what triggers my thoughts, whether positive or negative, and handling the negative triggers better.
  • Enjoy my 2 planned vacations to places to I have not been to before.
  • Continue to learn and always be reading.  And I want to gain additional Inbound certifications.  Here is my blog post on learning and reading: You are What You Read – Always be Learning
  • Remember to focus on my personal marketing as mentioned in my blog post: Do Your Personal Marketing Plan
  • Better follow a success philosophy as mentioned in my blog post: John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success – Try It!
  • Remind myself that I am a lucky and fortunate person and continue living life with that in mind.  Here is a post that I need to review often: Lessons About Life, Enterprise, from Baking Christmas Cookies

The beginning of a new year is always exciting. You can start new. You are hopeful for a great upcoming year. You are optimistic. It is a time to reflect and plan for the future.

I decided to keep up with the idea of 3 words for 2017.  The 3 words idea came to me when I read What Matters Now, a series of short essays each on a different word, written by some of the best minds around a few years back.  It’s a free eBook conceived by Seth Godin and edited by Ishita Gupta. It still applies today. Chris Brogan has encouraged others to select their 3 words for the year.

My 3 words for 2017 are Enjoy, Learn and Positive.

ENJOY – I need to enjoy my vacations and spending time with family, friends and connections.
LEARN – I need to keep learning and obtain additional certifications.
POSITIVE – I am basically a positive, happy person.  I need to go with the flow and stay positive with no complaining.

I will try to keep these 3 words in mind throughout the year. I have done the 3 words a few years in the past including:

I had a great 2016.  I’m looking forward to an even better 2017.  Happy holidays.  What are your three words for 2017?  I would love to hear from you.




Lessons About Life, Enterprise, from Baking Christmas Cookies

December 7, 2016 Leave a comment

Tom Peters wrote this great blog post that had this title of “Lessons About Life, Enterprise, from Baking Christmas Cookies.”  Highly recommend you reading it.  It is located at:


He wrote it in 1988 and it still applies today.  And it is one of the few blog posts that I printed off and keep in mind.  Tom is an expert on management and is someone that I follow.

He created the term “Managing by Wandering Around”.  I still follow that suggestion. In touch or bust. Make sure to stop by and talk to my employees often, visit clients and visit partners.

Here are a few quotes of Tom’s that I agree with:

  • “The problem is rarely the problem, the response to the problem is.”
  • “The very notion of ‘professional services’ hinges upon the … IDEA OF INTEGRITY.”
  • “Small courtesies. Kindness = Repeat Business = Profit.”
  • “To put the customer first is to put our people ahead of the customer.”
  • “The competition ain’t the competition: We beat ourselves.”
  • “Execution is a game of inches – Relentless wins!”

So, I am semi-cheating here.  I am not writing an original blog post.  Just providing some thoughts on the great post that Tom wrote which are:

  1. Engagement.  Don’t just talk.  Do.  A manager needs to get involved in the real tasks with their direct reports.
  2. A Plan.  Have a simple recipe to give direction.
  3. Art.   A plan is nice but be flexible.  It’s those little tweeks that really make a difference.
  4. Trial and Errors.  Embrace mistakes.  I became a better writer by my trial and errors with my blog.
  5. The Same Mistakes.  Learn from your mistakes.
  6. A sense of Humor.  It is OK to laugh at yourself and have fun with members of your team.  Don’t be too serious.
  7. Perseverance.  Be focused.  Focus on doing excellent marketing activities or whatever is your job function.
  8. Perfectionism.  Be creative and strive for perfection.
  9. Ownership.  There is no half ownership.  If you are the owner of a task you are responsible for it.
  10. Accountability.  “Until you’re engaged in all aspects of a job, you don’t fully engage.”
  11. Taste.  I do love Christmas cookies.

Hope you enjoyed this post and Tom’s post.  Happy holidays and happy eating.

Cause Marketing and #GivingTuesday

November 29, 2016 Leave a comment

Now’s the time to choose (or continue to support) your cause, personally and for your business.  The Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the U.S. is labelled #GivingTuesday. Take a moment and firm up your giving.  This post will discuss personal charity selection, how to follow the charity, reasons for Cause Marketing, what a business needs to do for Cause Marketing and my selected charity, the CHOC Foundation.


Personal Charity Selection

Select one non-profit organization that you will follow this year.  Choose one that you feel a connection to.  It could be health related as you know someone with or has had this health issue.  It could be a political cause.  It could be religious.  It could be local such as the local high school education fund.  It could be outside of the country such as an organization focusing on starving children in Africa.  It could be a small non-profit or it could  be a large non-profit.  Maybe it is one that you will follow for many years or maybe for only a year.   The decision is yours.    Be comfortable with your selection. By following one or more non-profits this year you will be helping others as well as feeling better about yourself.

Non-profit Following

What do I mean by following?  Here are my thoughts on this:

  • Review the chosen organization’s website and get to know the organization such as what is their message, who do they help, what activities do they have coming up and how you can be involved with them.  Know enough about this organization so that you can comfortably tell others about it.
  • If the organization has a sign up to receive their newsletter, sign up for it so that you can get notified of any events or new information for this organization.  Make it easy for that organization to communicate to you.
  • Check out their status to make sure they are legitimate and worthy of following.  If they are a larger non-profit, check them out on
  • If you use Facebook and if they have a Facebook fan page, become a fan of that organization so that you are can be easily informed of information from this selected organization.  Make sure that you suggest to others that they become a fan of this organization.
  • If you use Twitter and if they have a Twitter account, follow them.  Suggest to others that they follow this organization.  Remember to send out a tweet about the organization on charity Tuesdays or when they have events such as a walk-a-thon.
  • Check out other social media networks of the organization such as YouTube channel, Instagram page and blog to get a better understanding of the organization.
  • If they take donations, make a donation, even if it is a small amount.  This donation solidifies your connection with this organization.  Or make a non-money donation, that the organization can use for a drawing such as sporting event tickets or a week at your vacation home.
  • If they have a fund raising event like a carnival or pancake breakfast, make sure you attend as well as encourage others to attend including your LinkedIn Connections, Facebook Friends, Twitter Followers, workmates and neighbors.
  • If they have some kind of volunteer activity, if possible, volunteer some of your time.    This could include volunteering activities such as a beach cleanup or manning a booth.  Or if you have an expertise that the organization could take advantage of, please volunteer your services.  For example if you are a graphic designer then you could help them create their next event brochure or ad.

Multiple touch points with the organization is key.  These touch points might draw others into being involved with your selected organization.  Much like Twitter followers, usually one follower leads to another follower.  Much like LinkedIn Connections, a new connection usually leads to another connection.  A small activity by you could lead to great benefit to your selected organization which could lead to assisting a great amount of people.

Selected Non-profit

CHOC Foundation is my chosen non-profit.  The CHOC Foundation for children exists to generate community awareness and resources for Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), supporting specific strategies that underscore the hospitals’ local and national leadership in prevention, treatment and research programs. CHOC Foundation for Children’s fundraising activities are guided by six philanthropic aspirations: to provide quality medical care for all children; to treat chronic and catastrophic illnesses; to emphasize illness and injury prevention; to support the well-being of children; to achieve medical breakthroughs; and to serve as a community leader and partner in the care of children.  Check them out at:

Cause Marketing

I feel that any business with more than 5 employees should have a cause that it supports and promotes.  Cause Marketing involves the cooperative efforts of a for-profit business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit.  It is a relationship and not just a giving.  The for-profit business wants to be “doing well by doing good.”  It has to be authentic.  Do it right or don’t do it at all.

Reasons for Cause Marketing

  1. Brand differentiation.  Be different.  Be memorable
  2. Makes employees feel good as they want to work for a company that gives
  3. Clients are expecting it as they want to do business with businesses who are making the world a better place

What a Business Needs to Do

  1. Find your own true social mission based on your company’s values.  Talk to your employees and clients.  If your business sells to higher education then maybe the non-profit would be one that focuses on education.  If you sell locally then maybe the non-profit should be one that helps those in your local community.
  2. Find the right non-profit partner.  Sounds easy, but does take some time.  Check them out and make sure they are reputable.   Find out if they are willing to work with a business.  Maybe they are too small to execute activities with your company.  Or maybe they are too large and won’t spend the time to work with you.
  3. Plan and execute the Cause Marketing activities to maximize the marketing benefit.  Make Cause Marketing part of the marketing plan.  Remember that social media should be a big part of these activities.  The for-profit business must share the real pictures and real stories of the cause.
  4. As with other marketing activities, measure the impact of your Cause Marketing.
  5. Make any necessary adjustments (maybe change non-profits if necessary) and repeat.

Thanks for reading.  Wishing you the best for you and your selected non-profit organization.  And send me your information on your non-profit (including URL) as well as your Cause Marketing thoughts.