Book Review – “Trust Agents: Using the Web To Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust” by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

In Book Reviews // on March 1st, 2011 // by // One comment

Read this book – especially if you’re over 30 years old, have a career or starting a new one!

You don’t have to be technology savvy to understand the concepts and the book offers practical action steps that you can take to begin building your Web reputation as a trust agent.

Trust agents are the digitally savvy people who use the Web to humanize businesses using transparency, honesty, and genuine relationships. The book offers practical advice on how you can build your online influence through profitable relationships with trust agents, or become one yourself.

Six Characteristics of Trust Agents

1. Make Your Own Game. Stand Out.

“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

2. One of Us. Belong, be trusted. In the book “The Trusted Advisor”, co-authors David Maister, Charles H. Green, and Robert M. Galford came up with a formula for calculating trust in the sphere of business.

The Trust Equation    (C x R x I) / S = T

C = credibility, or the signals people send out to show that they are who they claim to be and as good as they say they are. The higher this is, the more you can trust someone.

R = reliability. The more they show up on time, the more you’ll trust them to do so in the future.

I = intimacy, one of the most powerful emotional factors in trust. Do you feel comfortable around them? Could you tell them a secret?

S = self-orientation, and this is the only negative; the higher this is, the less we tend to trust a person.

Trust on the Web is more highly impacted by what other people say about you. Example, the feedback provided about sellers on eBay.

3. The Archimedes Effect. Leverage – don’t reinvent the wheel.

4. Agent Zero. Access – connecting to others and building powerful networks is useful in every kind of role. It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you. Get “LinkedIn”.

5. Human Artist. People skills are essential.

6. Build an Army. Leaders aren’t simply those who are the best at doing their jobs; they are the best at helping others to grow and gathering those people’s skills to their command when necessary.

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Something To Think About – Leadership and Love

In Best Practices, Strategic Planning // on February 17th, 2011 // by // No comment

Leadership is not about love – it is love. It’s loving your mission, it’s loving your customers, it’s loving your people, and it’s loving yourself enough to get out of the way so other people can be magnificent.

What can you do to be a better leader?

Source: “Lead with LUV” by Ken Blanchard & Colleen Barrett

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Improvisation 30 (Cannons), painting by Vasily Kandinsky

In Art // on January 24th, 2011 // by // No comment

Vasily Kandinsky, Russian, 1866-1944
“Improvisation 30 (Cannons)”, 1913
Oil on canvas
109.2 x 109.9 cm

More beautiful modern art from The Art Institute of Chicago!

Moscow-born Vasily Kandinsky was among the first artists of the 20th century to explore abstraction, a style that replaced representation of the natural world with the study of color and form. Between 1910 and 1914, while living in Munich, Germany, he painted a series of improvisation paintings, which were largely unconscious, spontaneous expressions.

At first, “Improvisation 30 (Cannons)” appears to be a random assortment of brilliant colors, shapes, and lines. But in the visual chaos, one can discern leaning buildings, a crowd of people, and in the lower right, a wheeled, blasting cannon. In a letter to Chicago lawyer Arthur Jerome Eddy, who purchased the painting in 1913, Kandinsky explained that “the presence of the cannons in the picture could probably be explained by the constant war talk that has been going on throughout the year.” Just one year later, Germany entered World War I. War themes were prevalent in many works of the German Expressionist movement, usually in a more representational style. Chaotic scenes such as Improvisation 30 may also refer to the end of the world as foretold in the Bible.

In his book, “Concerning the Spiritual in Art” (1912), Kandinsky argued that color, like sound, evokes emotions. Along with other formal elements, such as line, shape, and form, color (like music) is a language that communicates to all. His belief in the spiritual power of art was related to his adherence to certain doctrines of theosophy, a cult that promoted deeper spiritual reality through intuition, meditation, and other transcendental states.

Source: The Art Institute of Chicago

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Mentoring & Securing Sponsorship

In Strategic Planning // on January 14th, 2011 // by // No comment

Earlier this week I participated in a webinar hosted by Catalyst Inc. titled “Maximizing Mentoring & Securing Sponsorship”. The webinar was geared to individuals seeking greater clarity on the barriers women face to advancement, as well as insights into mitigating and overcoming them through both mentoring and sponsorship. 

Studies indicate that high-potential females are not getting enough from well-meaning mentors. The problem is that women are not actively sponsored the way men are, nor are they gaining access to and being supported by the right people. Sponsors go beyond giving feedback and advice, to advocating for their mentees and helping them gain visibility in the company. 

Catalyst’s research confirms that barriers to women’s advancement persist due to (1) stereotypes about women as leaders; (2) lack of access to role models; and (3) limited access to the critical relationships. Mentors and sponsors help reduce all of these barriers and present opportunities for development and advancement. 

What’s the difference between a mentor and sponsor? 

Mentoring is a relationship between two people for the purposes of development and career navigation. 


  • Are at any level in the hierarchy
  • Number one or many
  • Provide emotional support, feedback, advice
  • Help navigate corporate politics
  • Focus on personal and professional development
  • Serve as role models 

A sponsor is an individual, usually someone at a more senior level or with strong influence, assists a protégé in gaining visibility for particular assignments, promotions, or positions. Sponsors go beyond giving feedback and advice; they advocate for their mentees and help them gain visibility in the company. 


  • Must be senior managers with influence
  • Usually one (or very few)
  • Provide exposure to other executives who may help their careers
  • Serve as an advocate for promising opportunities
  • Fight to get their people promoted 

Catalyst offered suggestions to individuals – “What Can You Do”

  • Ask for what you want
  • Be seen
  • Take risks
  • Get feedback
  • Build relationships
  • Sponsor someone
  • Mentor a man – they become future champions for women 

Organizations such as Deutsche Bank, Unilever, Sodexo, and IBM Europe have established sponsorship programs to facilitate the promotion of high-potential women. Programs that get results clarify and communicate goals, match sponsors and mentees on the basis of those goals, coordinate corporate and regional efforts, train sponsors, and hold sponsors accountable. 


Catalyst Research Report: “Mentoring Necessary but Insufficient”

Catalyst Research Report: “Making Mentoring Work” 

Harvard Business Review article “Why Men Still Get More Promotions Than Women” 

Catalyst Inc. (New York, NY) was founded in 1962, is the leading nonprofit membership organization working globally with businesses and the professions to build inclusive workplaces and expand opportunities for women and business.

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Book Review – “Lead with LUV, A Different Way to Create Real Success” by Ken Blanchard & Colleen Barrett

In Book Reviews // on December 28th, 2010 // by // One comment

My brother works for Southwest Airlines and gave me a copy of the book as a gift. I read the book and love it! It’s full of valuable nuggets of wisdom and important reminders. I keep a copy of the book at my desk for easy reference and recommend it to my friends.

Colleen Barrett is President Emeritus of Southwest Airlines. Colleen began her career as an executive secretary, and was chosen by Southwest Airline’s founder to succeed him as president. When asked why, he said, “Because she knows how to love people to success.” As Southwest’s President, Colleen proved that leading with love is the non-stop route to outstanding business performance. This book is the inspiring conversation between Barrett and legendary leadership expert Ken Blanchard on the topic of Servant Leadership and how it relates to Southwest Airline’s success.

The Servant Leader leads with –

  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Generosity
  • Courtesy
  • Humility
  • Unselfishness
  • Guilelessness
  • Sincerity
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