Mentor Monday: Arik Hanson talks about the changing nature of mentoring.

Business mentors have been around since the beginning of business.  Like many other aspects of business, while the concept of mentorship remains the same, new developments in tools and technology allow us to practice these concepts in new, and possibly more efficient ways.

This mentor Monday, I am honored to have a guest video post from Arik Hanson, a mentor of mine.  In this video, he shares some thoughts on recent trends in the way professionals build mentor relationships, and how mentors and mentees interact.


View all Mentor Monday posts.

Personal Branding from 9-5

clockAt last night’s #u30pro chat we asked the participants to share professional obstacles that they’ve been facing, and then turned it over to the chat to discuss how to overcome these obstacles.

The final obstacle that we discussed left me with a few questions. It was about using twitter while in the office.  This person’s superior asked them not to.

This question forced the young pros that were participating to take a hard look at themselves in the mirror.  Few who have worked in an office can honestly say they’ve never peeked at their facebook, or twitter once in a while.

Then Meghan Butler brought up the “advantage of personal branding” for the company.  That’s to say that to build your personal brand benefits the company, and so it should be alright to do it on company time.

Now I’ve spoken about the battle between your personal brand and your company’s brand before.  In that post I said that your company’s brand should take priority over your personal brand.

This is different though.  It’s about company time.  Should employees be allowed to spend time building their personal brand, while they’re on the clock?  Should they be allowed to use social networks at all?

EDIT: To add to the conversation, Dan Schawbel just tweeted about a research report claiming “24% of employees have been disciplined at work because of social networking”.

Don’t Stereotype… Use Your Baby Eyes

Photo cred: Sean Dreilinger
Photo cred: Sean Dreilinger

Assumptions can be dangerous, unreliable and unfair.  The problem is, they’re inevitable.  People are judgmental, and they form stereotypes in order to satisfy their natural need to classify and organize.  The minute people meet each other, they are analyzing who the other person is and how to classify them.

A baby doesn’t make assumptions.  It sees everything for the first time; everything is new.  That shouldn’t change. Everyone is different, and should be approached as something new.

Age, sex, race, size, culture, personality, style….everything about us carries a stereotype.

Stereotypes are usually based on some truth.  They don’t develop out of thin air.  They’re developed based on experience.  If someone has a number of experiences with a certain “type” of person, they assume that the same experience will occur with others of that “type”.

Still think Millenials are great with social media?  Or maybe you think they’re entitled and lazy. The only thing that you can say is 100% true about a millennial is their age.  Same goes for Gen X, boomers and on… Anything you assume as a result of that age is based on stereotypes.  Whether it’s a positive stereotype, or a negative stereotype, it is still dangerous, unreliable, and unfair.

Use your baby eyes, like you’re seeing everyone you meet for the first time (I know…ridiculous).  You’ll be surprised how much more you can learn and accomplish with people when you eliminate assumptions.  Thinking about stereotypes may be inevitable, but if you recognize that it exists, it is unfounded, and focus on the specific person as an individual, you can overcome them.

An Epic Battle For Social Media Professionals

tankAre you truly committed to your brand?

If you’re a CEO you’re probably nodding your head.  If you’re just an employee, you might not be so quick.   For an employee, the success of their brand isn’t necessarily directly related to the success of their personal brand, and so the epic battle ensues.

If you have a personal brand network that overlaps with the community of the brand you work for, you will always face a dilemma of whether or not you should post content on your blog or on your brand’s blog, on your twitter account or your brands twitter account, etc… It’s your personal brand vs. your company’s brand.

You might have a GREAT idea for a blog post.  It’s one of those posts that you know, when you hit publish, the traffic and comments will just start rolling in faster than uncomfortable moments in a Ben Stiller movie.  It can go to either blog.  Where do you post it?

The answer is you give the content to your company’s brand, not your own.

It’s not an easy pill to swallow, but the brand of your company should always take priority.  Why? Because…

  • You still get credit for it.
  • You shouldn’t hold yourself above your company.
  • The better you do your job, the better you look in your boss’ eyes.
  • The better the company looks, the better you look.
  • They pay your salary.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own personal brands, that we forget our primary responsibility is to our company’s brand.  You have a job, do it well.

Stop! Don’t Break Silos Down Just Yet

Photo cred: Manky Maxblack
Photo cred: Manky Maxblack

The social media professional is currently a jack of all trades.

Mix together some marketing, technology, html, a spoonful search engine optimization, a splash of public relations, a hint of advertising, 2 cups writing, and top it off with some digital media, cook it on twitter for a few months and you have yourself a warm delicious social media professional.

Calm down, that highly inaccurate recipe is meant to be funny, but also to display a point.  This space is a mess of practices all mashed together. A while ago, Beth Harte wrote about how “Communication silos don’t work“.  I couldn’t agree more. But now, it’s as if we’ve completely broke down the silos so that their contents are spilling everywhere and messing together.

Is this a good thing?  Should people trying to become “social media professionals” be jacks of all trades? Or should they focus on one area?  Seems most job offers require this wide array of expertise, and if one were to focus on one area, they wouldn’t be qualified for most positions.  Will this just make us practice more things not as efficiently?

A community manager is not a marketer is not a public relations pro is not an SEO expert etc…

It’s great that we’re breaking down silos to integrate multiple practices and open communication but there’s a reason that silos exist in the first place…focus, and that’s a good thing.

We shouldn’t be breaking down silos, but rather connecting them to create a network. I’d rather take one person that focuses on PR, one for marketing, one for digital media, and one for community building and put them to work as a team, than four people who do a little bit of each of those things.

Maybe the “social media professional” is the middle man for the other areas.  Maybe they’re the 5th member of the team team that can bridge the gap between the silos.

Help me out here.  Are we losing focus by mixing everything together in the social media space? Or is social media the answer to integrating the focus of other areas?