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4 Quotes to Inspire Your Strategy

Good leaders keep us on track.

Leadership and strategy are closely linked. Without a captain and destination, we would be aimlessly paddling about.

But a good leader knows setting a strategy isn’t about merely creating a to-do list. First, a good leader needs to gather information. It’s important to talk with clients and colleagues. Then, it’s time to make informed decisions on where to go.

Need inspiration? Here are four quotes to help inspire you as a leader.

Get ready to set your business and marketing strategy!

1. Remember you are part of a community

As leaders, it is incumbent on all of us to make sure we are building a world in which every individual has an opportunity to thrive.

Andrew Ng in Harvard Business Review

2. Think about what sets you apart from the crowd

Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it’s about deliberately choosing to be different.

Michael Porter in Fast Company

3. Remember that success doesn’t happen overnight

Social media requires that business leaders start thinking like small-town shop owners. This means taking the long view and avoiding short-term benchmarks to gauge progress.

Gary Vaynerchuk in Entrepreneur

4. Take ownership of your vision (and see it through!)

Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.

Jack Welch in CNBC
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3 TED Talks To Calm Tech Fears

Don’t be afraid of technology.

For some people, that might be easier said than done. In our fast-paced, tech-driven world, it can be hard to keep up with change. As a result, we might fear it.

How do we continue to explore, keep a healthy level of skepticism, and remain excited for what’s next?

Here are three TED Talks that inspire us to not be afraid of the future. Once you listen to their advice, you might feel excited about the future or want to start an experiment yourself.

Don’t fear superintelligent AI with Grady Booch

As a kid, IBM’s Grady Booch was thrilled to see technology show up in Hollywood blockbusters and play with the imagination. As an adult, he notes, some of the technologies that were fantasy are becoming a reality.

He’s not afraid of what’s next. Instead, he thinks we’re on the cusp of an exciting adventure.

“We are on an incredible journey of coevolution with our machines,” Booch says in this TED Talk.

How can technology transform the human body with Lucy McRae

Lucy McRae is “fascinated with the idea of what happens when you merge biology with technology.” McRae trained in classical ballet and has a background in architecture and fashion.

In her collaborations and experimentations, she combines those interests and considers how technology and the human body could connect. For instance, how might clothes, tattoos and technology intersect?

To find out, listen to McRae share her curious creations in this TED Talk. Afterward, you might be thinking what you would create.

Why good hackers make good citizens with Catherine Bracy

Are all hackers to be feared? Not necessarily. For some tech-driven folks, being a hacker means being inquisitive and looking for a problem to solve. When you change your perspective, you might be surprised to find out what hackers are up to.

“For every hacker that’s trying to steal your identity there’s one that’s building a tool that will help you find your loved ones after a disaster or to monitor environmental quality after an oil spill,” Catherine Bracy shares in this TED Talk.

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Be an Inspired Lifelong Learner

Illustration of yellow lightbulbs up and down in playful rows

Keep learning from the best.

School is back in session — and it can be for you, too. Whether you’re a recent graduate or recently retired, learning never goes out of style.

Here are three TED Talks we like that remind us what we can learn when we stay curious and make the world our classroom.

3 rules to spark learning with Ramsey Musallam

After 13 years of teaching, a life-threatening condition led high school chemistry teacher Ramsey Musallam to reexamine how he taught students.

“Student questions are the seeds of real learning, not some scripted curriculum that gave them tidbits of random information,” Musallam shares in his TED Talk.

In marketing, we’re always talking about building and crossing the “curiosity gap” — or keeping eyes and ears engaged so they gain new information. As Musallam learned, curiosity can lead others to ask tough questions and gain important information, and this is something we too can get behind.

The nerd’s guide to learning everything online with John Green

YouTube can be your classroom, author John Green says in his TED Talk. As a young student, he wasn’t a very good student himself. Then, he found himself in the right learning environment.

“I found myself surrounded by people who celebrated intellectualism and engagement, and who thought that my ironic oh-so-cool disengagement wasn’t clever, or funny, but, like, it was a simple and unspectacular response to very complicated and compelling problems. And so I started to learn, because learning was cool,” Green says.

Today, Green says that same community can be found online. So, listen to Green’s talk and then explore your world by learning with others who think learning online is pretty cool.

Smash fear, learn anything with Tim Ferriss

From swimming at summer camp to dancing the tango in Argentina, entrepreneur Tim Ferriss covers a range of scary learning experiences in this TED Talk. For Ferriss, each one has taught him that “fear is your friend. Fear is an indicator.”

“Sometimes it shows you what you shouldn’t do,” Ferriss says. “More often than not it shows you exactly what you should do. And the best results that I’ve had in life, the most enjoyable times, have all been from asking a simple question: what’s the worst that can happen?”

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4 Leadership Quotes to Inspire Lifelong Learning

Closeup photo of lightbulb with Albert Einstein quote overtop: "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing."

Great leaders and innovators never stop learning.

When we learn, we become better leaders, colleagues, friends, and partners.

Learning keeps our skills sharp — an ever-important need in the fast-paced world of technology and communications. Not only that, when we learn, we stay nimble and curious. Learning helps us become the best version of ourselves.

What are you waiting for? Pick up a book, download a podcast, read a news article. It’s time to get out and learn!

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.

Albert Einstein

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.

Henry Ford

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.

John F. Kennedy

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.

Colin Powell
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Relax Your Way to Creativity

Image of glass of water being poured with Maya Angelou quote overtop: "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have."

Taking time for yourself can have myriad benefits.

When we rest, we open up our minds to opportunities to be creative and productive.

Although it might look like we are doing one thing, our minds remain hard at work⁠. We are puzzling over problems, thinking creatively, and free-associating.

“The critical thing to recognize is that when we are mind-wandering, when our minds don’t have any particular thing they have to focus on, our brains are pretty darn active,” Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, author of Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, tells Scientific American. “When you do things like go for a long walk, your subconscious mind keeps working on problems.”

Pang, who is also founder of the Restful Company, a consulting company in SIlicon Valley, differentiates between resting and engaging in restorative activity.

Mindlessly binge-watching television may help us wind down, but that’s passive. Active hobbies that help your mind wander are important. That’s why walking can be such great exercise, for both the mind and the body.

Another way to think of this is in terms of helpful distractions.

As Harvard University researcher and psychologist Shelley H. Carson explains in The Boston Globe, “a distraction may provide the break you need to disengage from a fixation on the ineffective solution.’’

When we focus on a problem, we can have trouble finding the solution. This is because we aren’t opening ourselves up to different solutions.

Carson, also the author of Your Creative Brain, argues everyone can benefit from flexing their creativity muscles. It can make us feel more relaxed, fulfilled, and effective. Creativity inspires us.

But taking time for active rest or creating opportunities for helpful distraction can be tough.

This is especially true when, as Geoffrey James points out on Inc.com, we live in a society where people where their stress as a badge of honor.

His advice?

“Be brave enough to give your brain the leisure it needs to carry your ideas, your career or your company to the next level.”

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Put Your Heart In It

Photo of small glowing hearts with bigger heart illustration over top

It makes sense why we become attached to our offices, coworkers and clients.

Studies suggest a third of our adult lives are spent at work. We may spend more time with our work colleagues than with our own friends and families.

You may feel you put your heart into your work. But do you put your heart into interactions with coworkers and clients? There is so much being said. Are you sharing and listening effectively?

We’re talking about empathy in the workplace.

This isn’t about being agreeable or creating a pleasant culture. It’s about interacting with others in a thoughtful way. Why? Because it can benefit everyone.

Empathy can be the secret sauce that unleashes productivity and performance.

In Heartificial Empathy, Putting Heart into Business and Artificial Intelligence, author Minter Dial considers how we can encode empathy into our business practices. Dial suggests empathy can improve our own relationships, as well as help businesses perform better.

When you do what you say and say what you mean, you build trust and followers inside and outside your company.

“Though empathy can be perceived as weakness, especially in a command and control culture, it can also be the secret sauce that unleashes productivity and performance,” Dial writes. “Empathy doesn’t mean being weak. It doesn’t even necessarily mean being nice. It is about understanding the other and, when having to pass along tough orders, can help their reception, even when there’s no choice in the matter.”

So, how can you encourage empathy in the office?

Explore empathy in your company’s culture.

Ask clients, “Are you being listened to?” Ask coworkers, “Do you feel valued in the company?” Listen thoughtfully, put yourself in their shoes, and consider what changes might be beneficial for everyone.

Create an environment where exercising empathy is accepted.

Make it OK to have conversations, explore professional development, and access learning opportunities. This doesn’t have to be formal. It can be as simple as chatting with others while waiting in line.

Do what you can to make this an easy, natural process.

Don’t force change. Share an article. Invite others on a coffee break. Ask for other opinions. Little steps and practices can go a long way to encourage thoughtful actions.

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Growth Is Hard! Here’s Our Advice

Graphic design of flowers in bloom

It’s scary to put yourself out there.

All too often, we might know in our hearts what we want, but be afraid of the path to get there.

Perhaps you are the person in your office who is always intrigued by the latest gadgets and reports. Do you have an idea for a new way to do things? Do you think your audience could benefit from finding you on a different platform?

Maybe you are thinking about changing jobs. Is what you dream about doing the complete opposite of your current path? Is another position calling your name?

Possibly you are worried about taking a stand. Where do you find the confidence to speak up and become a leader?

Expert advice can be a wonderful help, and so often ultimately reminds us to follow our guts and do what we believe to be best. If you are thinking of trying a new path, experimenting with an idea, or exploring a fresh direction, remember you are in control.

“I describe my career path as a zigzag—not a ladder with a straight trajectory up.”

When asked on the Simmons Leadership blog if there was a turning point in her career, Denise Morrison, who served as CEO of Campbell Soup Company from 2011 to 2018 (and was the first woman to do so), responded that she’s “jumped the curve to seek new experiences.” When life served her an unexpected move to California, she took it as an opportunity to take on a new challenge and gain experience.

“But until a person can say deeply and honestly, ‘I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,’ that person cannot say, ‘I choose otherwise.’

In his well-known self-help book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey shares that we have the power to control our paths by the way we respond to situations around us. If you lead your life with emotional strength and integrity, Covey believes we can shape better lives for ourselves.

“I’m like a tree. My leaves might change color, but my roots are the same.”

Athlete Rose Namajunas reminded her fans that we remain ourselves at our core. We may win or lose, gain insights or skills, but experience and knowledge only add on to who we are. When we think this way, we have the freedom to change our leaves. We can still be ourselves even if we try on a different set of colors to see how they work for us.

So feel motivated to get out there, be yourself, and work hard to chart your own course!

And remember: “He who never makes an effort, never risks a failure.”

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Leaders Share Digital Lessons

Chalkboard with "LEADERSHIP" written in multiple colors

Good leaders inspire us. They motivate us and encourage us to be our best selves. Thanks to the connections we can make today online, at any moment we are close to potential mentors and managers who can help us find the right path, answer our needed questions, and consider something anew.

If you have a few minutes and are in need of some leadership, we suggest these TEDTalks themed around leadership in the digital age for inspiration and motivation.

We hope you’ll check them out or explore the leadership topic on your own!

Efficient leadership in the digital era with Charlene Li

According to Charlene Li, “The biggest barrier to digital transformation is culture—and leadership drives culture.” A social media and innovation thinker who encourages leaders to thrive in an age of digital disruption, Li encourages people to rethink what they know.

In this TEDTalk, Li, questions how today’s culture of rapid decision-making and technology has changed leadership. What does it mean to be an effective leader today? For Li, it’s about empowering employees.

How diversity makes teams more innovative with Rocío Lorenzo

Is it true that diverse companies better at creatively pushing the envelope? Media and telecommunications consultant Rocío Lorenzo and her team surveyed 171 companies to find out.

“My personal experience working with diverse teams had been that while they require a little bit more effort at the beginning, they did bring fresher, more creative ideas,” Lorenzo shares in this TEDTalk. “So I wanted to know: Are diverse organizations really more innovative, and can diversity be more than something to comply with? Can it be a real competitive advantage?”

What I learned from giving up everything I knew as a leader with Jim Whitehurst

Jim Whitehurst, former Chief Operating Officer of Delta, had long looked at leadership one way. “I thought I was the person ultimately responsible for solving the problems facing my organization,” Whitehurst says in this TEDTalk. “I was the one who was supposed to bring order and structure.”

But, when he changed organizations, he got a lesson in leadership. As CEO of Red Hat, an open-source software company, Whitehurst discovered unexpected changes and challenges.

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Yes, You Can Use Video on LinkedIn

Laptop with speech bubble saying "Let's connect"

Everybody’s on LinkedIn—even celebrities are on this social platform known for networking. And while this may not be the platform you go to for fun, it is the platform you should be on for professional connections.

According to numbers from LinkedIn’s Sophisticated Marketers Guide, there are more than 400 million professionals are on the platform. If you want to talk to leaders, savvy thinkers, ideators, marketers, communicators, head to LinkedIn. If you want to grow your business, and show off your skills to current and potential employees and clients, head to LinkedIn.

But don’t just be there—be part of the community.

This is how you can set yourself apart from the millions of users. This is how you can position yourself and your company as a thought leader and drive your business.

Increasingly, one way to do this is through native video on LinkedIn, which launched in 2017. You can start a video ad campaign, embed videos or upload and create on LinkedIn’s platform, which, it should be noted, are often more effective. You can share product launches, promote company news, drop insider offers and exclusive looks, and tell stories and introduce key figures.

Sure, you could similarly share these updates through static images or text. Video is one more avenue to connect. Additionally, data from LinkedIn suggests viewers spend more time with video and may be more likely to start conversations around video content.

LinkedIn is interested in pushing its community toward using more video too: In February, the company launched a live video feature in beta. The company continues to pilot live video streaming with a few broadcasters. The feature isn’t currently available to all members, but LinkedIn does offer an option to apply to become a live video broadcaster.

For everyone else, LinkedIn also offers support and encouragement to pursue the creation and uploading of original videos.

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions has a quick guide to using video on LinkedIn, and even goes as far as helping participants consider why video might be important to their strategy. (There’s also LinkedIn’s special Tech Marketer’s Guide to B2B Video.)

If your objectives include building brand awareness, encouraging clicks and new viewers or driving leads to your website, LinkedIn argues posting video on the social media platform is good for you.

As with any video strategy, it’s important to do what’s right for you and your audience. Come up with an idea and see it through, then look at the feedback and adjust. Adding in video doesn’t mean eliminating all other content and touch points. But it does offer a way to set yourself apart from others and create another opportunity for viewers to connect with you.

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4 Quotes to Inspire Your Entrepreneurial Habits

Resilience, curiosity, focus and follow through—the skills required to be an entrepreneur are good ones to have no matter what industry you’re in, and no matter whether you own your own business.

Working with an entrepreneurial outlook can be beneficial even if you’ve never considered writing “entrepreneur” as your job description. It means you aren’t afraid to tackle a challenge, won’t easily give up and always ready with an idea.

So, whether you aspire to officially call yourself an entrepreneur or not, there are still a few things to learn from this mindset. Take it from the quotes of the entrepreneurs below and read their stories for inspiration.

What will you be able to do with a little push?

“Being an entrepreneur can be learned, and that is exactly what I have done. You don’t have to be born with it or have had the ‘lemonade stand.’ But, you do need to have the passion, devotion, conviction, and sheer will and drive to make it happen.”

Julia Hartz, co-founder and CEO of Eventbrite, in Entrepreneur

“A person who sees a problem is a human being; a person who finds a solution is visionary; and the person who goes out and does something about it is an entrepreneur.”

Naveen Jain, founder of several companies, including Moon Express, Viome, Bluedot, TalentWise, Intelius and InfoSpace, in Inc.

“As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned how crucial it is to be able to call a spade a spade and avoid falling in love with a particular strategy or product. Instead, you need to let the customer tell you what she needs—and to change her as she changes.”

Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, in Fast Company

“Being an entrepreneur is a mindset. You have to see things as opportunities all the time. I like to do interviews. I like to push people on certain topics. I like to dig into the stories where there’s not necessarily a right or wrong answer.”

Soledad O’Brien, journalist and CEO of Starfish Media Group, in Mediabistro
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