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Consolidated Construction Services
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This post is from my friend Ann Marie – @WorkingMoms on Twitter. As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, I encourage you to pause and be thankful for those that fight for our freedom and remember those that have given the ultimate sacrifice.
This post is from my friend Ann Marie – @WorkingMoms on Twitter. As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, I encourage you to pause and be thankful for those that fight for our freedom and remember those that have given the ultimate sacrifice.Why present a post about this topic on a site that talks about social media, connecting and our digital world? Because all of these things we talk about is dealing with the human connection. This post is as human as you can get. Ann Marie’s post is from the heart as she sends her baby off to war. Ann Marie and her baby, Taneah are in my prayers. I have had a rough week to say the least……One time in my life when I need to be strong… a pillar for my babies….instead I’m struggling with every ounce of me not to cry…..to be able to breath….not panic with fear…I have been through a lot in my life….all which holds nothing to what I’m feeling about sending my baby off to a war zone…Many of you don’t know but my middle child…child #4…. “aka” short bus (nickname given to her because she is 5ft 1and gives me piggyback rides… I tease that she is so short my butt hits the floor)…T-birder(another nickname)…Taneah is in her last 9 days of training/holding before she is being deployed …….Up until last Tuesday….it didn’t bother me…because I decided to go with denial…my other daughter said mom she wont go….they will probably cancel her orders….I went with that….denial……it was working for me…up until she packed her gear at my house…then it hit me…my baby…my short bus really is going to a war zone and I can’t do anything to stop her from going…to protect her….I looked at her and said you really are going….She said yeah, mom I’m…I said but NaTasha said you wouldn’t be going….she said they would probably cancel your orders…she was wrong…I watched her pack her gear…thank goodness the rat that came to visit which took my mind off her going….The next day….we said our goodbyes…..I thought saying goodbye to my babies that got stationed in Alaska was hard…well, was I WRONG….totally wrong…sending your baby to war….is a feeling that I can’t explain….so many emotions but no words really capturing the way I feel…..When I said goodbye…it was like saying goodbye knowing that I never get to see her again….that the person I’m saying goodbye to will not be the same person I will see when she gets back….it will be someone new….A person I never met before…. Will I ever see her again….she may not come back……over the last couple of weeks we talked about her wishes in case that happens…again I used denial and jokes….thinking she wouldn’t go…yep, worked then…but not now…..reality hits…She left me her car to use…every time I get in it….I can’t describe how I feel….Thankful her letting me use her car while she is gone…but knowing why I have the luxury/honor of using her car…hard to handle at times…but what a sweet baby….I had a parent say to me who does not have a child in the military…as parents we prepare our kids to go out and take care of themselves in the world that’s all you can do…as if she thought this was comforting to me….I looked at her for a moment….and replied yes, we do….but we do not prepare them for war…..not the same I said…thinking to myself….shes not moving away….she is going to protect us in a country that really is not fond of Americans…where bombs go off and guns are shot…forgot to prepare her for that…..I have also struggled with the fact that my son-in-law….child #10…one of my gifts…went to war but I did not get this upset….I love Bryon as much as I do my own….. worried bout him the first time he left…I did cry and was scared for him..the next time…I put it out of my mind and knew he would be ok still scared for him….but with Taneah….why am I a basket case….I feel bad….like I was letting Bryon down…I immediately called my daughter NaTasha and apologized for not being as upset/scared when Bryon was deployed…… I didn’t want Bryon ever to think that I loved him less….She said mom he doesn’t think that….we both think kids should be older when they go to war….and Taneah is blood mom…but I said that should not matter….I think it’s because she is a girl…and Bryon can take care of himself….yes, I was sexist for a moment….one of them is very capable of taking care of themselves… the other…is not so capable….immature… really young….lacking life experiences…I have a new understanding for parents who have gone or are going through the same thing as I’m….Not an easy thing….we can not protect our loved ones…..put them in a bubble…send notes telling people who want to kill them to play nice…and learn to get along…..we loose control of being able to protect them what so ever….not easy…extremely hard thing to do as a parent…To all the families that have sent their loved ones to a war zone….My thoughts and prayers are with you….and always have been….Words cannot express what I feel for your pain or what you are feeling….Thank you to all the service men for your sacrifices that you have given…..to protect us….
This post is from my friend Ann Marie – @WorkingMoms on Twitter. As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, I encourage you to pause and be thankful for those that fight for our freedom and remember those that have given the ultimate sacrifice.Ann Marie’s post is from the heart as she sends her baby off to war. Ann Marie and her baby, Taneah are in my prayers. I have had a rough week to say the least……
10 things Julius Caesar could have taught us about business, marketing, leadership (and even Social Media)
May 20, 2010 by Olivier Blanchard
Continuing the series started a few weeks ago with Bette Davis, here are some lessons that a bright dead personality could teach us were they alive today. This week: Gaius Julius Caesar ??? a guy so successful in his time that his last name became synonymous with ???Emperor???. (Point of note: the term ???Czar??? is a contraction of ???Caesar.???)
Here what Julius Caesar might talk about if he could speak at #Likeminds, #Ungeeked and #SxSW today:
1. Six inches of point beats two feet of blade.
The Roman legions conquered most of the known world using javelins and the standard issue short-sword called a Gladius. Contrary to what you may have seen in the movies, the gladius was a stabbing weapon, not a hacking/slicing weapon. Compared to long swords and battle axes wielded by barbarian hordes, the gladius seemed a child???s weapon: Short and dagger-like, not particularly good at slicing. Yet its six inches of stabbing point beat its longer, scarier counterparts in battle. Why? Because the Roman legions were trained to use it properly.
What the Roman legions knew (and the barbarian hordes ??? including my own people, the Gauls didn???t) is that flailing wildly with long, heavy weapons forces you to commit too much to each attack. Swinging a heavy weapon opens up your guard just long enough for a legionnaire to thrust his gladius from behind a wall of shields and take you down. Not to mention the energy efficiency of a quick thrust vs. a wide swing. Legions used less energy in battle than their ill-trained counterparts, which allowed them to fight longer, thus giving them the ability to win against 2:1 and sometimes 3:1 odds.
Sometimes, the difference between effectiveness and failure lies in how expertly a tool is used. Bigger and better doesn???t guarantee success. Fluency and expertise in the use of very specific tools, however, can turn an apparent disadvantage into a win. A well trained operator with a simple tool can be much more effective than a less well trained operator with an expensive, more impressive tool. Never take training, focus and discipline for granted.
2. People want to be led, not controlled.
While Julius Caesar was in command of his legions, he was hailed as a hero. His men would have followed him anywhere (and did). Why? Because he led them to victory and glory.
When he returned to Rome after defeating his rival Pompey, Caesar tried to rule Rome as a dictator. That didn???t work so well. In shifting from leadership to absolute control, he stepped over a line that the people of Rome ??? and even his closest allies ??? refused to cross with him. The result: Julius Caesar was assassinated by a group of senators bent on making an example of his death to any future would-be dictators. The lesson: Leadership = good. Control = bad.
Leadership implies direction. It promises a better tomorrow. It engages and fascinates and inspires. Control, however, is a crushing weight on liberty that no man ever accepts freely. Control breeds resentment and hatred. It fosters discord and revolution. Be aware of the difference and how your leadership/management style is perceived by the people under your charge. Aim to lead, never to control.
3. ???I came, I saw, I conquered.???
A) Everyone loves a winner. The ingredients of leadership may be a brew of courage, vision and intelligence, but its flavor and appeal are the wins. It isn???t enough to be a leader. You have to prove it again and again by pulling off some key victories. Winning gives you something to talk about. Not winning means you should talk less and work more.
B) Brevity goes hand in hand with clarity. It doesn???t get much clearer than ???I came, I saw, I conquered.??? Even in twitterland, that leaves you more than enough room to add a hyperlink to a PDF that elaborates on such a succinct report.
4. ???Experience is the teacher of all things.???
Books are nice. They???re a start. But at some point, you have to DO the thing. You have to build the business. Grow the business. Win market share. Outpace your competitors. Recruit the best minds. Create the culture-changing products. Fix the accelerator glitch. Stop the giant underwater oil leak. Rejuvenate your brand. Redefine your market. This stuff isn???t theoretical. You have to roll up your sleeves and learn the hard way what works and what doesn???t.
Julius Caesar learned soldiering with the rank and file of the Roman legions. He fought in the front lines, shoulder to shoulder with legionnaires. He slept with them, ate with them, drank with them, marched with them and bled with them. Had he not spent years in the trenches doing the work himself, he would not have been the military leader he became. ???Experience is the teacher of all things.???
The subtleties of experience trump the best theoretical education in the world. Books will only get you started. You have to go the other 90% of the way through hard work. There???s just no getting around it. If you can???t learn how to be a race car driver by reading books, you certainly can???t learn how to lead an army of run a business that way either.
As for Social Media ???certifications,??? forget about it. Training (even what I can teach you at Red Chair events) will only get you so far. The only way to get good at something is to do it, and do it and do it until it becomes second-nature. Experience trumps instruction.
Say it with me, out loud so the whole class can hear you: There are no shortcuts.
5. ???Cowards die many times before their actual deaths.???
Be bold. Take chances. Don???t hide. Every time you don???t speak up in a meeting, every time you let some jerk at the office take credit for your work, every time you hold off on releasing a product or green-lighting a bold campaign, you are building your house with faulty, weakened bricks.
Winning, being successful, beating the competition isn???t achieved by playing defensively. Every win is a succession of decisions that imply risk and take courage. Likewise, every failure is a succession of decisions marred by fear and cowardice. Learn this.
The same rules apply to your online presence: If you want to find your voice in the blogosphere and on the twitternets, have the courage of your convictions. Speak your mind, even if what you have to say may earn you a few frowns. It is easy to feel pressured by some well-followed ???personalities??? to keep your mouth shut or not speak against the grain. Don???t let yourself be intimidated. Your opinion is as valuable as theirs, and your point of view just as worthy of expression. Being blackballed by a handful of self-important bloggers isn???t the end of the world. Better to know who your friends and enemies are than to live in fear of retaliation. Speak your mind. Find strength in courage.
Build your house, one courageous decision and action at a time.
6. ???I had rather be first in a village than second at Rome.???
Some folks are just happy to be there. Others are okay with being top 5. Others yet are content to be #2. Leaders don???t fit into any of these categories. They want to be #1. It???s a personality trait, nothing more. It can???t be faked or learned. You???re either this type of person or you aren???t. Bill Gates wasn???t interested in being #20, so he started Microsoft. Steve Jobs: Same story. Sir Richard Branson: idem. The great leaders of history, whether in antiquity or in our time all share a similar personality trait: #2 is not an option.
Same thing with companies and brands: Would you rather be #1 in a niche market or #3 in a broad market? Which holds the greatest value? Ask Apple where they went with that. Ask Microsoft where they went with it. It isn???t a question of which is the better choice. The question is more personal: Which is the better choice for you?
Note: Incidentally, in the world of Social Media platforms, there is no #2. You???re either #1 in your category, or you are on your way out. In this world, velocity and scale win.
7. ???It is not these well-fed long-haired men that I fear, but the pale and the hungry-looking.???
The competition is the hungry kid with an idea, ambition and nothing to lose. Thirty years ago, they were Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Five years ago, they were Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Evan Williams. Who???s next? Who will crush Big Advertising? Big Web? Big Print? Big Software? Big Consulting? Big Energy?
If you???re the industry leader, don???t look to your biggest competitors. Instead, look to the kids with the brains, the vision and the huevos to redefine your category and make you obsolete. Likewise, if you???re one of those kids, don???t let the big dogs intimidate you. If you have a better idea, fight for it. Make it happen. Don???t settle for what???s comfortable. Fight. The old guy playing golf with his CEO buddies every other day, he???s given up.
In the long run, my money is always on the hungry young wolf, not the fat one taking a nap in the sun.
8. ???It is better to create than to learn! Creating is the essence of life.???
It is better to be a pioneer than a student. Go where no one has gone. Until Julius Caesar marched into Gaul and made it a Roman territory, it was a wild and savage land Rome feared would never be tamed. He had a vision of what could be, and he made that vision a reality.
Henry Ford had a vision. So did Walt Disney. So did the United States of America???s Founding Fathers. So did Steve Jobs, Howard Schultz (yes, I know, he wasn???t the original founder, but he was the one who made Starbucks ???Starbucks???), Bill Bowerman, and Branson. Every brand of note, from the Roman Republic to The Beatles focused on creating and building, not just on learning. Learn all you want, but then do something with what you???ve learned. Contribute. Create something of value. Even if it is just a #chat, an idea, a YouTube video, a blog post, a presentation or an app. Create something. Anything.
9. Ask everything of your people, but reward them like kings.
The men who served in Julius Caesar???s legions and survived to the end retired wealthy. Never forget whose work really made you successful. Your employees, your friends, your business partners, your customers??? Everyone who contributed to your success deserves more reward than you can afford. never lose sight of that. Executives who treat lowly employees like cattle are epitomes of stupidity and arrogance. In sharp contrast, executives who treat every employee with respect and gratitude are all win in my book. Strive to be the latter, and don???t skimp on rewards. Look a little further than the proverbial gold watch when trying to reward loyalty. Rise above institutional apathy. Yes you can.
Same with twitter followers and blog readers. If they buy your book, if they come see you speak, if they help you in any way, take the time to do something for them. Strive to give back more than you receive.
10. ???The die is cast.???
Make decisions. Live with those decisions. It???s that simple. Once you???ve committed yourself and your business to a course of action, to a play, to a tactical path, you???re committed. The time for doubt or indecision is gone. Stay the course and brave the storm. It???s all you can do.
Leadership isn???t for everybody. It takes nerves of steel, sometimes. It???s hard on the soul.
When you fail: Accept responsibility for the failure, learn from it, dust yourself off, and try again. No need to dwell on what you can???t change. Focus on what you can change.
When you succeed: Reward your people and give them all the credit. Don???t stop and rest, though. When you???re winning is when you should keep advancing. Winning is100% about momentum. Never forget that.
You make some very nice points (pardon the pun).
I always find your blog an insight into everything I???ve been doing wrong and how to change it.
- on May 20, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Reply Chirpir News | 10 things Julius Caesar could have taught us about business ???
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This post is the best I have read from you. You have made it to the point. I had to skip a bit from point 1, too graphic for me???:)
Everyone of those points makes total sense.
The one that stands out for me is ???Cowards die many times before their actual deaths.??? It takes bloody courage to do things and as you said, it is innate.
Not enough people have the courage to take a stand and we are too worried about what other people might think.
Success comes even with sweeter when you know you have put yourself to the line for your convictions.
Just came across your insightful article. Clear and simple. I like your point that there really is no number 2 in a market. This is an old marketing rule, but today social media makes it easier to create a new category and your own niche
Thanks for this post, we???re a start-up with big ambitions and everything you???ve written is relevant to our situation and strikes a chord.
As a student of classical history, the stories of the Roman legions have always fascinated me because of their effectiveness over decades. The Romans trained intensely and kept doing the one thing that they did better than any other force in the world. They didn???t abandon their success because they tired of its unoriginality or wanted to express their creative impulses. They remained with a strategy that delivered over and over, refining tactics but never abandoning the strategy.
I can???t count the number of firms I???ve worked with who tire of their marketing after a year, despite its effectiveness, and want to do something new for the sake of newness. If it works, keep it. Refine it. Improve it. But never abandon what works. Your customers aren???t tired of your message, only you are.
Nothing wrong with painting your shields a different color. As for the rest, yes: Stick with what works, and see if you can build on that. Chain mail was replaced by lighter segmented armor. The legions adopted the use of artillery fire and other projectile devices. They improved, they adapted, but they never abandoned what worked.
I like the Julius Caesar analogy. Up until he became a dictator and eventually stabbed to death!
???Make decisions. Live with those decisions. It???s that simple. Once you???ve committed yourself and your business to a course of action, to a play, to a tactical path, you???re committed. The time for doubt or indecision is gone. Stay the course and brave the storm. It???s all you can do.??? ??? Mind conditions will surely require lots of discipline but if you passed the obstacles of some factors contributing to the loss of your focus then things will be alright.
It???s a great post Olivier and one which strikes a resonance with me.
Solid as usual, sir.
Resonates with a quote I came upon last night from Teddy Roosevelt about how it is better to go after lofty, bold pursuits and deal with failure from time to time than to live in the dull grey mediocrity of the status quo.
I say, let them all write for smaller pieces of the same audience. I will build a new audience. It might not be the largest, but it will be an army of likeminded individuals willing to pick up sword and spear and continue the march into a future of our own design.
Spark Mutton Worldwide, yo.
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Good article on Mashable; how do you manage your social media profiles?21 Rules for Social Media Engagement: http://bit.ly/a4sylT John Lusher
Do you still think Twitter, or social media for that matter, is for fun, personal and NOT for business? It may be time to rethink that philosophy…..
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