To be good at what you do, you have to realise that you can’t do it in isolation.
When you create and collaborate with someone else you can generate 100 little solutions for others, rather than gunning for the glory of the ‘I AM THE INDUSTRY ALMANAC, AREN’T I CLEVER?’
There are far too many people that want to grab onto something and say ‘mine.’ Whether this is a company that is just publishing everything within it’s own insular four walls and no voices from outside, or the belief that thought leadership is ripping off a quote from someone else and claim as their own to an applause on LinkedIn. Lets just slow down.
The Focus On The Singular, Not The Plural
People and businesses are striving to be heard where we are detached from everything else but puff our chests out to look good in front of others.
The focus is still very much on the singular (look at me), rather than the plural (let us make this better). We are all guilty of it.
Everything I have done is by associating with other people in order to build a rounder knowledge of how something works. The ability to share this and facilitate creates immense payback.
Fight, Fight, Fight
It is ok to acknowledge that we don’t have to know everything; sometimes it is good for others to ‘come down’ with us.
When I was at Leicester University, during the 90s, there was one evening where a friend and myself walked into beating from four other men.
Admittedly it was my fault. I provoked with the shouting across a road. Next thing I know we were being chased. I thought I knew the way home via the car park of Homebase but we came to a gate that was locked.
Whilst my friend managed to skip with only a kick in the back, it was three others and me. Whilst I don’t consider myself as ‘handy’, what I did was hold onto one of the men and brought him down with me; this meant that when kicks were being thrown, I didn’t necessarily take the full brunt. We shared the load for a few seconds. I think I managed to get up and run away.
What does this mean in a business context? You need to bring others in with you and bring them down to your space/place in order to be stronger with the message you communicate. We don’t have all the answers, but we might have 100 little solutions, where others ‘come down’ with us.
The 100 Little Solutions
You need to associate with the best people within your world (rather than the world) if you want to create something that is unique and interesting to others.
I wanted to publish a book, so I approached LID publishing.
I didn’t know how to put on an event, so I partnered with Matt Desmier for the Once Upon A Time theatre events.
I want to know more about the discipline of content marketing. I asked nearly 100 of the best marketers in the world today and the Talking Content Marketing series grew.
I want to find out how people can take control of the spaces they have ownership of, so I invite businesses that are doing this at the monthly You Are The Media Lunch Club.
When you find a teacher or a learning partner, you learn 10 times faster.
Moving From Beyond The Four Walls
Why learn new disciplines and practices that are relevant to your field? This is why people stick to what they know. It is far easier to talk about your business and what it does, rather than looking to solve problems that other people might have and then bring in the best people to solve it.
For instance, ExperienceUX are a company who specialise in UX research, they document how other brands are finding their way; have a look at their interviews. They are getting other brands to share their perspective, on their platform.
No one has the definitive answer to the problems within their marketplace and be seen as the oracle. However, you can create pockets of knowledge where you can propel forwards and bring in others to help shape and build. These pockets of knowledge are everything from the interview series that sits on your website through to the audio and video content that is published on a regular basis.
Aligning With Others
By finding different ways to communicate a message with a content marketing/owned media focus, I aligned myself with others. This has its roots in taking what Napoleon Hill demonstrates in Think & Grow Rich where you surround yourself with talented people (known as The Mastermind).
These are people who share your vision and are happy to participate. When you align yourselves with a host of smart minds, this is more powerful than one ‘battery’ as Hill explained.
Today allows ease of access to an audience than we have ever had before, so if others can understand what you believe in, it provides scope for new areas, such as taking the message from online to offline.
The key is not to have the answer to everything, but to have 100 little solutions that enables a better outcome for someone else. For instance, the Marketing Homebrew podcast has just started the 2017 shows (click here to listen). The plan for this year is to have more of a flow by breaking down the thirty-minute shows into three sections.
The first part of the show is what’s happening in the ‘big’ world of marketing in relation to what’s topical on an industry scale. The second is ‘our world’ and what’s relevant to Ian (Rhodes) and myself and ‘your world’ is intended to share the questions and work from the ‘homebrewers’ who listen to the show. Each week is not the definitive answer to marketing today, but someone listening may pick up the thread to an idea and hopefully progress (this is the 100 little solutions).
Back to ExperienceUX, they don’t have the answers to the industry, but by participating with others in the UX discipline, they are creating their own 100 little solutions. They have also just delivered their second UX Bournemouth meetup (Tuesday 21st January), where 100 people came to listen to a host of speakers.
Sharing What Has Worked, For You To Take On Board
When someone else can help contribute to your 100 little solutions it gives you a sense of belonging and encouragement to achieve something.
Ian and myself are still learning our podcasting trade, but this is what spurs us on in order to gain the recognition as solid podcasters. We will never reach the status of experts, we’d rather be seen as a useful resource to listen into each week.
If you are looking to find your allies and help create the small solutions for others, here is what I have found. This starts with accepting that you have to step out from beyond the screen and find others to magnify what it is you believe in.
Lead with enthusiasm – rather than pronouncing that you swallowed the book on your industry, you have to lead with your passion rather than just your professionalism.
You deliver (and do it again) – why would someone want to co create and participate with you, if all they see are a few sporadic blog posts? You don’t have to think that delivery is spending more on a Facebook campaign so people come to your homepage. Delivery is someone else acknowledging that you are present (and doesn’t binge on Sneaky Pete on Amazon Prime).
You have a defined voice – whether introverted or extroverted, it becomes easier when someone else can associate a voice. When you have a defined voice, this is what makes you stand out and build your own character traits. This then becomes the glue for someone else to collaborate with and easier to stand beside you.
There is a channel already in place – to build trust and someone else recognising that collaboration is worthwhile, there has to be a place where people can see consistency. This makes it easier for someone else to say yes. For instance, when I started the Talking Content Marketing series in 2013, I went straight for the jugular in terms of the most recognised marketers/content marketers in the world. From Joe Pulizzi, Robert Rose, Jay Baer, Chris Brogan, Mitch Joel and others, they are all here. This made it easier for others to say yes. If you want to know why they said yes, have a read of this article.
You create themes not goals – If I had a goal to become a leading content marketing practitioner in the UK, I would be left disappointed most of the time. Instead, I break things down into themes, this is where the small success are. These are to help businesses with a content marketing approach (what the business does), work towards businesses finding their own confidence (the weekly email and podcast) and highlighting the success of other business to make it easier for others to interpret (the You Are The Media Lunch Clubs).
Create a sense of unity – it is easier when you work with someone who has the same values. Every project I have worked on with someone else is where there is a shared enthusiasm. Who wanted to work on a project that took time, became laboured and no sense of momentum.
Never become distant (or what’s in it for me) – the whole purpose is to contribute and create a stronger force that is bigger than one person, the moment someone starts behaving distant, then the relationship is over. This is what I found with the publisher of The Content Revolution, but we are always learning.
Understand the history of your space – in order to have a clear voice, you have to learn as much as you can about the industry that you are part of and not just assume that everything is how it looks today. If you can understand how things were put together in the first place, then you can challenge it.
Lets Round Up
When you facilitate a different way to communicate, that you’re not familiar with (interview, audio, video etc) over time, it helps provide a rounder knowledge. When you do it with someone else (in partnership or invite to participate), you learn a lot faster.
Creating 100 little solutions acknowledges that you may not have the defined answer, but there is an option B, C, D and E to take on board. Sometimes, it’s not about the answers but creating the momentum for a different action.