Category Archives: inkSPOTS

Book reviews, interesting articles for discussion, and other high-quality content I consider at the intelligent edge of business, communication and/or interpersonal relationships.


Today’s lesson is courtesy of Facebook. The lesson is that “life isn’t about finding yourself. It is about creating yourself.” I love it, and I am all in. As I look at my life, it is not even about creating … Continue reading

Trying to catch them while they’re young!

Today, I am speaking to a group of high school student leaders. I think this is part of my mission now. Working with youth, and particularly those who are trying to excel and do great things, is powerfully motivating to me.

Today, I will speak with a group of students from E.C. Glass High Schools. Here is the link to the Prezi presentation I use as my outline.

Mentoring: Avoiding Task List Target Practice. Part 2 of 2

This is part two of a two-part article.  The first installation was published on June 6, 2010.

This post  is for leaders — from students to mid-level managers like me — dealing with workaday problems.  It is about the importance of seeking mentoring to inspire you to in times of frustration.  It is for people who have been frustrated for so long, they may have forgotten how to reset the Attitude button and release themselves from suffocating frustration at work.

My favorite gems from AL, with my own perspective woven in, included:

  1. A manager, even a great leader, has only a small role in an employee’s career success.  Ultimately, the employee is responsible for using the opportunities given her or him.  And it is that individual’s responsibility for having the “fire” in her or his belly. Continue reading

Get unstuck: Avoiding Task List Target Practice. Part 1 of 2

This is part one of a two-part article.  The second installation will be published on June 7, 2010.

This post  is for leaders — from students to mid-level managers like me — dealing with workaday problems.  It is about the importance of seeking mentoring to inspire you.  It is for people who have been frustrated for so long, they may have forgotten how to reset the Attitude button and release themselves from suffocating intellectually.

For weeks, I wrestled with some turbulent leadership learning opportunities.  It seemed at every turn, the reality of our progress was subdued by a few key colleagues’ ability to make it seem like failure.  As a result, I was, by definition, “stuck.”  Folks in my Accountability Group worried openly about me, and my usual laid-back demeanor was wound tight.

I faced more than a reasonable number of issues in which I felt compromised, undermined, or simply overruled, even though I was responsible for setting and leading a team in accomplishing objectives.

I started last week with the belief that none of the grinding, intense work I — and numerous other staff — were putting in was netting us enough productivity or, to be frank, appreciation.  In the last year or two, our business unit has undergone extraordinary change, from who sits in each proverbial seat on the bus, to how we manage our business processes and track productivity, to how we assess what success looks like.  We went from a larger staff to a smaller one as we launched major new initiatives.  We went from young guns anxious to correct the boss to young guns being bosses.  My self-congratulatory takeaway is that progress and change, and both measuring and sharing productivity,  are fearsome threats to the ineffective and unfocused among us.

At any rate, a couple days ago, my outlook changed.  Why?  I had  lunch with a person I admire and respect deeply, and who is one of the most intelligent leaders I know.  I shall query him and question him, and call him AL.  This meeting was like getting an iPad for Father’s Day when all you rightly and happily expected was a card; it was a huge treat. Continue reading

About 90 days . . .

Has it really been that long since I wrote a blog post?  That is appalling and precisely the sort of absentee blogerism that leads to declining readership.  I am ashamed and embarrassed.  But mostly, it shows I have been too busy applying all the lessons and best practices I typically try to share.

So in one respect, the application of knowledge is worthwhile.  On the other hand, it will not make me look like such a thought leader tomorrow when I present on how readily a person can manage social media for personal, professional and business growth.

Within an hour of waking up tomorrow, I will attempt to string together enough cogent statements to convince several social media fence-sitters that they can own this domain — pun intended — without having to sequester themselves in a Nerd Bunker for hours at a time.  I will further try to impress upon them that the relationship side of their respective businesses can be well-served by using tools such as blogs, social networks and other technological options.  Whether existing employees, potential workers, clients or potential buyers of their services, the Return on their Investment would have to be relatively high, since most of the acquisition costs are approaching zero ($0).

So here are a few points I plan to make:

1.  If you can’t commit the time to building deep, intimate relationships (Facebook), you surely can build some basic ones (Twitter) and invest where it might be most profitable (LinkedIn).

2.  You don’t have to be Ashton Kutcher to build a successful social network.  Use it to engage and reward your most loyal customers.  When all else fails, FOCUS your content on the most important customers/potentials.

3.  Leverage staff strengths and let leaders emerge.

4.  Efficient management can make you appear more consumed than you are with creating content.

5. Being a content distributor can be a better entry strategy than being a content creator (Copy and Share Everything).

Using these strategies should allow you to establish a social media presence, and learn how your organization and staffing can best manage this powerful tool.

Free iPhone Apps I Love for Travel

This past week an extended business trip to Providence, Rhode Island – a city I had never visited, coupled with a group of fellow conventioneers with whom I had little or no previous knowledge — led me to rely almost purely on my iPhone for navigation, restaurants, event opportunities, and . . . contact with my expanding online community.  Here are 10 free Apps that, today, I appreciate and think could add value to your next travel experience, whether you’re going to to a new chow spot in your neighborhood, or taking off on a cross-country trek.

Some people might want to break their App love into the same, or similar, categories Apple uses to organize them, but for me, I am going to keep it simple: 10 apps that made my iPhone the second most important tool on my trip.  It was second only to my iPhone charger.  Period. Continue reading

In Memory

On January 30, 1983, Geraldine Barnes Brandon departed this life, leaving a legacy that out-shined her mortal light, which was extinguished at the age of 49.  Her four children, Kathy Archer, of Midlothian; Alvin Brandon, Jr., of Chesterfield; Kevin Brandon, of Ballwin, MO; and Matthew Brandon, of Lynchburg; son-in-law, daughters-in-law; four siblings; and a host of grandchildren honor her life and love as we strive to give more to this world than we take from it.  And thus she lives on in each of us: a light unto our path in our journey with our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Rest in peace, Nana.

This tribute will appear in the Sunday, January 31 Richmond Times-Dispatch.