AvoLead blog: Abundance

A discussion forum for recognizing and appreciating the abundance in all aspects of our business and personal lives.

Professional Networking: LinkedIn Groups

One of the potentially powerful features of LinkedIn is the option for you, as a professional and a leader, to join Industry or Shared-Interest Groups so you can read or participate in the discussions taking place in your field and see who’s doing the talking! I’ve embedded LinkedIn’s clear and helpful tutorial below on how and why you might wish to use LinkedIn Groups.

Don’t dismiss this without watching this video, and don’t equate LinkedIn Groups with the Group function in Facebook. It’s an entirely different and more professional interaction and can involve as little or as much time as you wish.

Depending on the purpose of  the Group (which should be declared when you go to its page), LinkedIn Groups can offer you:

  1. Visibility and the building of your reputation as an Expert
  2. A place to find — or share — tips, techniques, and best practices
  3. A place to seek a job or post job openings (though not all groups have a JOBS tab)
  4. Quickly discover the most popular discussions in your professional groups
  5. Have an active part in determining the top discussions by liking and commenting
  6. Follow the most influential people in your groups by checking the Top Influencers board or clicking their profile image to see all their group activity
  7. See both member-generated discussions and news in one setting
  8. Easily browse previews of the last three comments in a discussion
  9. Find interesting discussions by seeing who liked a discussion and how many people commented

When I’m looking for Groups I might wish to join, I consider the description provided by the Group manager, look at the length of time it’s been active, and look at the number of members. If it’s an open group, I look at the activity to see if discussions are interesting and informative. It’s easy to leave a group you have joined if you decide it doesn’t fit with your interests or priorities. Most groups require you to express an interest and be approved by the group’s manager.

For example, one newly formed group I have joined recently called Coaches and Consultants for New Horizons has been helpful because group members are generously sharing their experience with various webinar sites, marketing tools, and other programs. Sometimes people abuse a group by blatantly marketing themselves instead of joining in a legitimate discussion. If that happens too much, it’s time to think about leaving that group and joining another one.

Of course, you can start your own group too, but you should participate in one or more groups a bit to get the hang of it first.

Friends of AvoLead is a LinkedIn group established for connecting like minded individuals who share AvoLead’s values of Abundance, Evolution and Leadership. It is for sharing and networking by individuals who want to advance partnerships and authentic leadership. If you fit that description, we welcome you!

Are you an artist?

We’ve got to start asking ourselves–and our clients–this question…and seriously entertain the near certainty that the answer is YES!

I suspect that many business and professional leaders do not consider themselves artists. Their education, training and experience ostensibly fall on the left brain side, and cultivation of the right brain side has, in the past, not been seen as practical or worthwhile.

Enter Seth Godin’s Linchpin, his 2010 book exploring what makes someone indispensable to an organization…what makes them a “linchpin.” Like all seminal thinkers, Godin has taken ordinary ideas and made us see them sideways, so we can mine new meaning and value.  In his e-book companion to Linchpin called Insubordinate, Godin refers to Art as “the way you see the world” and the ability to put existing things together in new ways. Here’s his formula:

creation of a juxtaposition that generates a reaction and touches an emotion + lack of compromise + drive to ship = makings of Art

Throughout his book, he refers to “shipping” as that step in the process that gets an idea from brain to delivery, a step that can be sabotaged by everything from fear to procrastination, to lack of vision, to poor systems.

He goes on to say that the best artists exhibit a bias for growth and the courage to try something new. They demonstrate “daily creativity combined with relentless persistence.”

This process isn’t always neat and clean. In fact, it’s usually vibrant and messy–that’s what I had in mind when I chose the photo to go with this post.

So embrace your inner Artist! And remember what Godin says about Jerry Colonna and Fred Wilson, co-founders of Flatiron Partners:

Anyone could have done it.

Anyone didn’t.

They did.

So whatever it is that you do…Just Go Do It!

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Elizabeth H. Cottrell is the principal of RiverwoodWriter, LLC, a writing and desktop publishing business, and of Heartspoken.com: Speaking from the heart about the Power of Connection. She is a Senior Consultant for AvoLead.
LinkedIn ProfileFacebook URL |   Twitter: @RiverwoodWriter

A Shift in Focus

Like many of you, I have recommitted, as I do every New Year, to staying in shape. As a part of this commitment, I made my way to the gym along with many other like-minded individuals. Although I have been in this gym many times over the years, today the “Judgment Free Zone” sign struck me differently. Perhaps because recently I have been in many conversations focusing on what makes us different from one another – from the gifts and talents we possess to feedback on how our differences get in the way at work, with friends, and with family. It seems more often than not we are focused on how we are different versus how we are the same.

Today in the “Judgment Free Zone,” I became keenly aware of how we as individuals are alike. Regardless of how we take in information, how we process data, how we communicate or structure our lives, we are much the same. We have a desire to be successful, however we define success. We want to feel valued and that what we are doing matters to someone. We want to laugh, to feel joy. We want to have friends, to be connected to others. We want to be heard. We want to love and be loved.

While it is healthy to recognize and value our uniqueness and that of others, often we only focus on our differences. Perhaps if we focused a little more on how we are alike as human beings, we would experience less frustration and more understanding.