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(Editor’s note: This post was originally written for the 10th anniversary of the day that changed our country forever. Here is a reprise.)

September 11, 2001

September 11, 2001

Anyone who was an adult twelve years ago vividly remembers where they were and what they were doing on September 11, 2001. Here’s my story.

It was a beautiful, clear and sunny morning in Johnson City, Tennessee, the place I had called home since moving south 16 years prior. I was the marketing director for Hunter, Smith & Davis law firm. We were hosting our large, annual employment law seminar at Millennium Centre in Johnson City. We had a good crowd that morning and things were moving along smoothly. I was standing in the back of the room watching one of our attorneys’ presentations when a Firm partner, Mike Forrester, slipped in the door and whispered, “Did you hear that a plane hit the World Trade Center?” Immediately my mind began processing this odd bit of information. My husband enjoys flying small planes for a hobby and I tried to envision some crazy pilot in a single engine aircraft hitting such a massive structure. “Is the weather bad in New York?” I whispered back. “No,” was his answer.

Moments later Mike and I and several others were piled out in the hallway watching the televisions that hung from the Centre’s ceilings. It was, in fact, a beautiful day in New York just as it was in Tennessee. And this was no small plane crash. As we watched the story unfold on CNN, reality slowly began to sink in. These were major aircraft and this was no accident. A secondary story unfolding before my eyes was the reaction of the people at the seminar. The attorneys kept their cool. One of our senior partners said, “If we stop now we give them exactly what they want.” And so the seminar went on. One person who worked at the Centre however was not so calm. I had to repeatedly reassure him that the world was not coming to an end. We did not all carry mobile phones with us ten years ago as we do today. I had to borrow a phone from a friend in order to attempt to reach my husband who was employed at a nuclear defense plant. His work voicemail said  that the plant had been evacuated and he would be in a safe area. And so I returned to the TV set and watched with horror as people ran from the World Trade Center and surrounding buildings. I recall feeling eerily that it was like watching a bad “grade B” movie. I also recall the calm steadiness of Scott Powers, an Annapolis grad and attorney for the firm as our eyes were cast upward. Our attorneys assured people who needed to go to check on their employees or loved ones to please do so but you would be surprised how many people stayed for the luncheon that concluded the session. There was comfort and assurance in being in a large group in a safe, secure building far from New York City or the Pentagon.

I recall that a close friend was very upset that her four year old kept watching the scene re-played as he stayed with his grandmother. “He keeps thinking it’s happening over and over,” she bemoaned. It was a very upsetting day for all of us who lived through it and a turning point for our country. Never again would we experience the freedoms that we had back then. If the United States were a dog we were probably a big, lovable Labrador until that time. After September 11th we became a snarling Pit Bull much more wary and cautious.

There were some good things to come from the tragedy. One first-hand example was our son. He was born in the baby boomlet that followed 9-11. He will never know the America I knew prior to that day. To him, removing his shoes at airport security is second nature, just as it is to have liquids over three ounces confiscated.

Each year when the video re-plays of the burning twin towers begin airing, I generally cast my eyes in the other direction or change the channel. “I was there. I lived through it,” I mutter, much as a veteran chooses not to watch a war film. This year avoiding the images will be nearly impossible as most every channel is already running features on the historic tragedy. Perhaps I will watch. Perhaps I’ll go for a walk with my son instead.
photo credit: wallyg via photopin cc

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Happy National Small Business Week from the  MarketingMel team!

Happy National Small Business Week from the MarketingMel team!

Editor’s note: It’s National Small Business Week! If you are a small business person, take time to celebrate your success as the backbone of our country. The following is a guest blog with tips on books for small businesses from Strategic Priorities’ Consulting President (and avid reader) Rebecca Henderson. 

Marketing is the lifeblood of any business, especially small business.  Without effective marketing, the business withers and dies, like an plant without water.  Networking and superior customer service are the linchpins of effective marketing.

The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence by Robert Spector and Patrick McCarthy pretty much sets the standard for customer service.   Years ago, I read Susan RoAne’s How To Work a Room.  It’s is essential for honing conversational skills for effective networking.

Another book I read years ago is What They Didn’t Teach You at Harvard Business School  by Mark McCormack;  the advice is timeless,  and teaches all sorts of things you didn’t realize you didn’t know.  Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership is a must-read for any small business; pay close attention to the chapter devoted to marketing.

Word of mouth marketing is the most effective marketing.  The Anatomy of Buzz :  How to Create Word of Mouth Marketing by Emanuel  Rosen is a great book that tells you how to do just that. Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got by Jay Abraham is filled with examples that I love.

Harvey Mackay has many roles;  three of them are marketer,  networker,  and author.   One of Mackay’s books I particularly like is The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World;  it’s fabulous, as are all of his books.  Take the Stairs by Rory Vaden is filled with gems of great wisdom, which can be applied to your personal and professional life.

We don’t usually think of management and marketing as hand-in-hand, but they do .  Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic by Leonard Berry and Kent Seltman is very informative.  Pay close attention to the last half of the book.

What are some of your favorite marketing books? Please add to our list!

Rebecca Henderson

Rebecca Henderson

Rebecca Henderson has an M.S. in Community Leadership from Duquesne University.  Rebecca loves strategic planning, organizational development, and “geeky things” like bylaws and parliamentary procedure.  Her company, Strategic Priorities Consulting, specializes in helping clients grow from where they are to where they want to go.  She is currently working on a book about being an effective leadership level community influencer. On a personal level, Rebecca is an active member of her church and Rotary Club, Vice Chair of the Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians,  loves to read, and is “Mom” to her five Newfoundlands.

 

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Editor’s note: The following is a guest blog post by attorney, friend (and former colleague from my law firm marketing days) Laura Steel Woods. She wrote this article in response to several well publicized social media identity theft cases.

Anyone remember prank phone calls?

Remember these?

Many years ago, before phones were used to update your Facebook status and check-in on Foursquare, they were used to call people. Sometimes, those calls included prank calls, which were intended to be a joke, for the most part. The thought that it might be “stealing” someone’s identity probably never crossed a prank caller’s mind. Now, with ready-made access to accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, or creation of a Facebook fan page, the implications of what used to amount to prank calling have ramped up significantly.

Think about it—most phone calls are directed to one person/location, where you consciously select a contact from your electronic phone book or pull the number from your head and individually enter the digits. Deliberate. Calculated. Intentional. Controlled.

Social media is different. The reach is intended to be broad. Control is relinquished, while not always thoughtful at least knowingly, once you post your status update. As with so many other parts of our lives, social media has certainly changed the landscape, or at least raised the stakes, of identity theft. Consider the mass in which we communicate. The “victims” in the SM setting, just like a prank call, go beyond the person whose identity was compromised and can include those who relied upon the prank information. The breadth of victims in the SM setting is vastly different. Whose identity is stolen does, in part, determine whether there are legal consequences, just like IRL (example: impersonating a police officer versus impersonating me. One will get you jail time, the other will get you a lot of student loan debt.).

The legal system faces a huge challenge as it attempts to keep up with a medium that can’t even keep up with itself. How do you handcuff wireless communications, the internet, the Web or avatars? The remarkable resiliency of the justice system will probably find a solution, just like it has in all other advances along the timeline of history. Another interesting watch will be how much push-back the legal system receives given how protective the public is over the “right” to do anything and everything it wants with social media.

What I’m pretty confident won’t change is the need for us to be ever-conscious of our social media presence. It may seem like a small inconvenience or, at worst, momentary embarrassment if your identity is pranked on social media. The speed at which information travels, though, can cause the fallout to balloon beyond your world before you know it.

Laura Steel Woods

Laura Steel Woods

 

Laura Woods is Vice President of Legal Affairs for a local consulting company. In a previous life, she was a labor/employment partner with a regional law firm where she started the firm’s social media program with a Twitter account and a blog. You can find her on Twitter as @LauraSWoods.

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Kouzes calls Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech one of the best examples of a shared vision

Editor’s note: In honor of Martin Luther King and his great vision for our country,  I am updating this post on Leadership. When you think of an important leader in your life, who comes to mind? According to Jim Kouzes, co-author of the Leadership Challenge, the top vote getter isn’t some political leader or entertainer, it’s a parent or other close relative followed by a coach or teacher. We are well acquainted on a personal level with the leaders in our lives. Kouzes was a guest speaker at East Tennessee State University last week and I had the opportunity to hear him speak.

He shared five practices of a leader:

  1. Model the Way
  2. Inspire Shared Vision
  3. Challenge the Process
  4. Enable Others to Act
  5. Encourage the Heart

1- Model the way: He sited a CEO of a company who started his presentations playing the piano. He said it helped people to understand who he really was at heart. His life’s dream had been to be a concert pianist. Then Kouzes posed the question: Do the people you lead know who you are, what you care about and why they ought to follow you? Be sure you first define your values/prinicples and what you believe in. “If people don’t believe in the messenger they won’t believe the message,” said Kouzes. Take Action: What have I done today that demonstrates the values that are near and dear to me?  (per Lillas Brown.)


Jim Kouzes speaks at an E.T.S.U. College of Business and Technology event. Courtesy: ETSU Photo.

2- Inspire a Shared Vision: Kouzes talked about the power of painting a picture of a better future and he used Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech as one of the best examples of our time. “Dr. King didn’t say ‘I have a corporate strategy.'”  Kouzes added “Have an image of a place you’ve never been and let people see themselves in the picture.”  Take Action: It’s the year 2022: Answer the following: What have we built together? What’s your vision?

3- Challenge the Process: Historically leaders have had to deal with changes, crisis, uncertainty and adversity. Sometimes it happens to us and sometimes we initiate it. One way to improve; at the end of each meeting spend 5 minutes de-briefing: How did we do? What can we do better? He mentioned the study that details the 10,000 hours and ten years of practice needed to make someone an expert. He urges leaders to have “out-sight” not just insight. Take Action:  What have you done to improve this week so that you’re more effective than last week?

4- Enable Others to Act: Leadership is not a solo act. It requires team work and trust. Use “we” more than “I” when you speak and listen for that in others. The more we trust the more we’ll risk.Take Action: What can I do in this moment to make others feel more powerful, competent and able to do more than they can?”

5- Encourage the Heart: Finally, he asked how do we develop leaders for the future? “Stay in love.” It gives us the fire to ignite and inspire others. His positivity magic ratio: at least 3:1 (Three to five positives for every negative and give even more positives at home where we already know we are leaders!) Take Action: “Love ’em and lead ’em.” Kouzes said.

 

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