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On any large journey, life included, it pays to take stock of your assets, strengths and weaknesses.

Taking the time to create awareness of your strengths is important. Especially so for leaders and entrepreneurs.

I thought I knew my strengths. I had forgotten some strengths. I had created a narrative in my self-talk that was dismissive, I even pegged some strengths as weaknesses.

I used the following 5 tools to get a little more clarity around my strengths. I hope you may find them useful too.

1. Introspective Review

Leveraging some questions from INC mag, I conducted an initial audit of my core values and things that came to me with little reflection…

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Right, here it is, the future of business. Forget mobile first, app development, AI and optimising for the ‘Stories” algorithm. I’m certain that a T-shirt first strategy is best. All these other strategies are ploys, tactical positioning on a current issue or trend.

Your T-Shirt needs to be your focus.


It’s the best measure of a company’s mission, vision and values.

If you can’t summarise the direction and “Why” of a company on a tee, it’s not succinct or clear enough.

If you’re ‘the Uber of X’ or ‘the new Facebook, but good with data’ do you put your logo or the Uber logo or Facebook on your tee?

If you already have investors looking for comparisons, not imagining the blue skies you could have cut, will you loose them. …

What’s my one tip as a coach?

Do this weekly. Heck daily - if you're brave enough. Challenge your team to do regular retrospectives.

The biggest #GROWTHHACK I can think of is consistent and regular review of:

- What worked?
- What didn't?
- What are we going to change?

The best organisations have mastered this rapid iteration and constant velocity of improvement. Taking cues from Ray Dalio's Principles - the top 1% document their change decisions so that even the way they learn (and make decisions) evolves.

Reflect, Recognise, Reward, and Realign

Make learning a key part of your week

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Single point of failure or outperforming distributed teams?

I’m an Achilles heel, but I know it! The nature of our industry implies we have hierarchy — teachers, head teachers, academic leaders and a principal or CEO — but is it the right structure for today’s VUCA world?

This centralised hierarchical structure means we have clear interfaces with the government and regulatory bodies, roles with built in dependancies, and bottlenecks when it comes to decisions. From a risk perspective these bottlenecks are strategic weak points. Heck even my current job title, Head of Marketing, sounds ripe for lopping off and leaving a lifeless directionless body…

It’s an org structure that historically has been well adopted, but is it the right structure for today’s VUCA world?

Beyond my KPIs as a Marketing Director, I see my role in any organisation as head of distribution. Where possible moving from a centralised system to a distributed model. At least in terms of our marketing capacity if not the wider organisation.

Creating scaffolding. Enabling with tools that allow open records, transparency around actions and accountability, and systems that empower my team to make decisions that better serve customers.

So why did the centralised systems form?

When we identify chaos our first reaction is to classify what we’re seeing, create order and build complex systems to make the chaos understandable and tolerable. It’s why we have forms, policies, procedures and why everyone (except well intended guests and relatives) puts the coffee cups back in the same spot. …

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We all have something in common…

My biggest lesson of 2017? WEAK TIES ARE A GOLDMINE!

TL/DR: The more random and diverse my network — the more my career grows and the more exciting (ad)ventures become. Take thirty seconds to think through your conversations in January. Connect your contacts to someone that could help in the comments below.

Your network is your net worth

5+ years ago Facebook first published this article on degrees of separation. It shows the degrees of separation between every user on the network.

At the time there were 1.5 Billion users and the big statistic was: “The average person is connected to every other person by an average of 3.57 steps.”

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For reference, back then:

At the time I could reach every user on Facebook, with just 2.8 degrees of separation.

Here on LinkedIn, I connect to add value. There’s a great mix, of English, Russian, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese in my feed each day. Contrasting opinions, debates, and support. I can manage the egos, clickbait, and fluff. …

When there’s no order, rhyme or reason: act.

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The one constant in life and business is change.

When it’s your socks that need changing most people can sense, assess and respond with appropriate action. But when you’re marching days into the arctic circle, your main issues is survival, not stench. Frostbite, not the fragrance of your socks.

When normal is abnormal and you have multiple inputs you look to group and rationalise so that you can act accordingly. You create routine and discipline to make things simple.

The day ends, socks from everyone in the family go in the wash (grouped in the washing basket), we put new ones on tomorrow (found in our individual drawers).

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The tasks, skills and abilities required of the modern digital marketing manager, online manager or webmaster are broad. T shaped skills sets are squared off and it is the same for any marketer — on or offline, digital, brand or comms.

The influence of technology everywhere means speaking tech and having EQ is the equation for success.

We are required not only to have a technical understanding, but also the skills to wrangle: tech upgrades, shiny new social networks, integrations, content, user experiences and the teams or relationships involved in creating them.

That said, the most powerful approach/skill/technique that a Website Marketing Manager can take is that of being a forerunner for his leaders, his team and his customers. …

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The POST Method — is a method for defining strategy that’s been around for the web equivalent of a lifetime. Back in 2007 the good folks at Forrester coined the POST methodology. I've found it to be a fantastic tool for making strategic and tactical decisions around projects online.If you haven’t guessed it’s not a strategy around posting things on blogs or social media, it’s an acronym.

The method starts with People

Clearly defining who your target audience is and what are they like is key to any project — it labels who you are trying to reach. the tighter the description here the better. Most marketing and communication fails by trying to appeal to too wider audience. …

Cyber-bullying is a big problem, should anonymous profiles be banned?

What's your call. Should you still be able to post online anonymously?

Should we be held accountable for what we post online? Some argue we can say things we would not be able to say offline. Be who we really are.

Hey, we have caller ID, can un-list our phone, or just hang up. We can tune the radio or TV, and just switch it off. And we know who’s responsible. Why do we let people anonymously attack online?

I'm keen to hear your opinion.

Having just returned from the first Social Media Club Auckland meet-up of 2014 my head is buzzing with ideas again and also thoughts - this time of anti-social social media. …

Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Half a lifetime ago I boarded a plane that took me to Tahiti, Rapau Nui (Easter Island) and ultimately the shores of Chile. That’s where I truly learnt to listen.

Still dazed from vaccination shots and with slightly blurry vision, I could hardly believe I was in Faa’a airport in Papeete (faa’ar away from home). Let alone fathom that a Coke was 2 Dollars a can and why there were no doors on the airport. Wow things were different, and hot.

Just weeks before the doctor had cleared my release from the intensive care unit and then hospital. I had recovered from Meningitis and he wished me a happy 18th year. It was just after returning from the CAT scan, that I got the news. Three pieces of news.

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  1. I had the hospital record for highest brain agitation whilst sleeping (yes, I fell asleep while the needle tried to draw off the page). …


Nick Allen

#Agile Head of Marketing | Coaching on Agile: marketing, strategy, sales & culture | #CSPO #INFJ #DDO #TEAL #ReinventingOrgs #Kiwi

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