Continual Evaluation Keeps You Relevant

Taking time out to ask for help, can help both sides if you are adding value for others.

If you spend a life telling everyone else how to behave, how do you know if anyone is listening and actioning?

If you are looking to build something and get others behind you, it can be very lonely if all you are doing is wearing blinkers and not looking around to see who is with you.

This article is about continual evaluation and asking for feedback. If you are here to solve other peoples problems in a B2B world, it is also ok to have your own questions and bat it back. 

By asking for help is not about putting up four options on LinkedIn and asking strangers if they prefer A, B, C or D. This is about trying to figure things out and acknowledge that the input from others is important if your intentions are to grow and have longevity. 

The Picture For You

People come to me with problems, I’ll go to them with problems. 

Having a bit of a You Are The Media summer break has meant time to take a back seat, reflect and see where things are heading. There has been no writing over June, just time to recognise which direction You Are The Media sails. 

I am explaining things from my own side here, just to give you a bit of a picture, rather than an outright, ‘hey, you’ve got to include others’ type of mantra, but with no context.

By continuing as business as usual is fine, it gives consistency. Then again if you are happy with business as usual, then at some point, someone else is going to catch up and take over.

The last article I wrote (have a read here), recognised the importance of bringing people together. When there are glimpses of real connection, you can create a framework to build. That framework is more focused on creating a learning space that is offline.

What has been going through my head since the You Are The Media Conference is the idea of introducing You Are The Media workshops.

This is centred on bringing people from around the UK to deliver deeper learning on areas that relate to businesses building their own space to grow their own addressable audience. 

People learn better when they take things on board together. You have got to bring your own algorithm to the party. 

People say we are more connected than ever before due to the web. People say we are less connected than ever before due to the web. They are both correct.

This is about upskilling, not peer to peer learning. This is about learning together, not in isolation in front of a screen

This leaves two options when it comes to delivery:

-Go all in and just get on with it, it feels right (become driven)

-Share with others what the intentions are and get their initial thoughts (become informed)

I went for the latter.

The reason is because that you can’t treat the world as a marketplace to sell into the shortest amount of time. The audience you build is your prized possession, they even become your friends. I asked because it allowed me to think out loud and be public, plus I could take on board what other people think.

As a bonus, Heather Brown baked a Victoria Sponge. It was a lunchtime, with cake.

The feedback was interesting. 

– People from outside You Are The Media may see this as a bit of a clique ie. you have to be in, to be a part of it

– Time allocation is just as important as the budget. What is delivered has to be relevant

– If the workshops are delivered by people where there is a sense of familiarity then that makes it easier to put your hands up and say ‘I don’t know’

– People come to You Are The Media Lunch Clubs as this form of safe haven to meet up with people. There is a topic for each event, but the learning is almost surface level ie. the camaraderie is more important than the content

– If you are part of a workshop with others you know it feels so much more homely as opposed to sitting in a room with strangers making small talk at the beginning

– There doesn’t have to be a crafted path where it becomes a defined course format. It is important for relevant areas that relate to a You Are The Media approach. This is centred on self sufficiency, ownership, audience, loyalty and message. If the topics start to steer away, you start to lose a sense of reason.

You can’t presume you have the answers, whether it is customers or growing your audience, there have to be times to make sure that things that are in your head have some form of validation and input from others. This all comes down to the relationships that we form and the trust that we build. 

It can help save time and become an accurate barometer for where you want to take things. 

What About You?

Building a community is one of the most privileged things you can do today, the tools are in front of you, the biggest investment is time and when it works, people will be willing to give their support and there becomes a collective voice where you can lead.

As you grow your addressable audience, the ability for others to have worth, be accepted for who they are and their involvement is valid. This means they are not part of a negotiation.

When it comes to asking others with questions you have bubbling around in your head before you commit to something, to help minimise risk, here are some pointers when it comes to stepping forward to ask for help:

Recognise that asking is about being connected to each other.

If you think you can step up and ask for help without others having a vested interest in what you and put a request out to strangers on social media, this is going to fail (no matter how much pizza or free booze you promise). Whether it is customers or a trusted audience, it is all about having a shared common ground.

Put the spotlight on the process.

If you are asking for input from others, you have to be clear from the outset. From my side, it was acknowledgement that there is a space to capitalise on that is around deeper learning. This would be provided by others who are part of the You Are The Media network. I now recognise that the You Are The Media Lunch Club is more about camaraderie and connection.

Lean less on social.

The reason people came to the focus group was that they felt they are respected part of the YATM community. If you ask for help on social this about accumulating mass, rather than with those who have a real familiarity with what is going on. It begs the question whether you would implicitly trust someone you don’t know very well to help make a business decision that is deeper than a cover for a book or a colour for a piece of office furniture?

Be clear that you want to sell something.

The proposed workshops are not part of some altruistic wish list. Whatever you want to ask, you have to be clear that there is some form of exchange to be better at business and building our spaces. You can’t take people around the houses only for them to be duped that they have given their time to not really know what the outcome is. We all need to be honest with each other, this is how you direct respect.

Make the ask of worth to those around you.

People don’t want to see something that has you revolving around the centre, it can’t just be about you. It is about recognising a way to help others and for them to upskill, learn, apply and build the confidence around their place in the marketplace. For instance, a few years ago, I would have looked to take the glory by thinking I could deliver every workshop from content marketing strategy, to email to audience building. I now recognise there are people who are talented and skilled within their own areas who can impart real value. It has to be of worth to the community. You have to be tuned into the ‘we’ not the ‘I’.

Show what success can look like.

No one is going to buy into something where they can’t see how their world will end up looking. You have to share the picture of tomorrow and how it is going to be better for them. It is about recognising a fork in the road and then sharing how you are trying to work things out, so the whole delivery is stronger. Read this article on the difference you can make and making it easier for people to buy into what tomorrow looks like.

Let’s Round Up

Everyone can become the hero. However, when you don’t know the recipe, you have to ask others what ingredients are needed.

It is tough when you don’t know the answers, which is why if you have built people around you, it becomes easier. As Brene Brown says, “The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it’s about the courage to show up when you can’t predict or control the outcome.”

If you are looking to introduce something new to your product offering, if you have built people around you, they can become the most important litmus test to help save time, reduce risk and you ploughing forward where it’s only you enthused. You have to acknowledge others and the role that they play, there is a huge place for humility and empathy (something that Margaret Magnarelli shared at this years You Are The Media Conference).

The relationships you grow and the trust you build helps immeasurably before you need something.

Asking the right questions, becoming informed and then actioning provides you with so much value for everyone to succeed.

Isn’t that why you’re here?

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