Category Archives: Culture

So the question came up from my last post:

How do we create a company culture when the manager does not really care about their employee’s good? What is the motivation for a manager to really want to invest in the life of his employee?

In my opinion this is really based on two things:

  1. Vision
  2. Values

Before we go there I want to look at what it means to be a leader and discuss what leadership is all about.  Let’s take a moment to talk about the difference between management and leadership. Some say that they don’t manage…they lead. Management has taken on a bad stigma as of late but why? What is the difference?

I see the difference being:

  • Leading is leading people to be better individuals. The emphasis being on the people being lead. The focus of leadership isn’t what but who.
  • Managing is making sure a process get’s accomplished. The emphasis here is would be upon the tasks at end. The focus of management isn’t who but what.

The problem with this is that I don’t believe you can effectively lead people without managing a process, so I don’t believe that you can truly separate the two. You need both of styles of leadership. Generally “managing the process” becomes the focus of many organizations or managers and not leading people.  The completion of the task becomes secondary to leading our people and inspiring them to greatness.

So what is leadership?

Leadership is what happens when, through my interaction with my team, I am inspiring my people to greatness. Leadership happens when I as a leader help my employees or team to become better individuals. Leadership is all about pouring into their lives in order to see them grow and succeed. Leadership happens when I can honestly say that I am investing in the lives of my team.

The reality is that while my team is growing personally, they are impacting the company in a positive way as well.

Since leadership is about success and growth, it does require that we manage a process. Managing a process correctly requires that the leader understand how that process relates to vision or the purpose of the organization. Without vision there is no meaning or standard of decision making to make sure that vision comes about.

What is vision?

Vision is that which we aspire to attain. It’s the direction which an organization or company is heading. It is the way that we’re going, the path that we are on, and the end goal that we want to see happen. It is not simply “who we hope to be one day” but a clear idea of where we are going, with steps along the way to help us get there.

However you want to define it, vision is the purpose of the company or organization.

Without vision, a leader is simply taking a stroll. Without vision, a leader is simply taking a walk with followers strolling aimlessly along with no direction, no purpose.

The problem with vision is that it can limit our growth if it is not large enough and it can frustrate the organization if it is too high and lofty. A vision must be clear, concise, and actionable. That is not to say that a small vision can’t be part of the process to accomplish the larger vision and that a large vision cannot be attained with careful planning and preparation…both can be true.

Vision should be something that is clearly communicated inside the organization and something that everyone can get behind and support. Without alignment, the vision is not going to easily get off the ground.

Vision is key to effectively leading our employees to realize their greatness and the greatness of the company.

Vision helps us as leaders figure out:

  • where we need to go
  • what we need to do to get there
  • how we’re doing along the way

Vision provides:

  • unity for all within the company or organization
  • energy and drive to see the company move forward
  • accountability and

That’s where values come into play and that is for another post.

But before we go, here are a few questions to consider:

  • What is your vision?
  • Is it greater than just the bottom line?
  • Do your employees understand your vision and do they have ownership?
  • If your vision isn’t where it needs to be, are you willing to make changes in order to get back on track?

droberson[at]zappos[dot]com | @zappos_drob|

I’m attending The Sundance Film Festival again this year and on Saturday, January 23rd, I will do so with a purpose.

During Sundance, The Parnassus Group is hosting the Tweet House to celebrate the uses and potential of Twitter in the entertainment and film industries. On Saturday from 5 to 7, the Tweet House will dedicate its efforts towards raising awareness and funds for Haiti.

It Won't Stay in Vegas CES 09 - LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton and The Parnassus Group are hosting “Tweet for Haiti,” a celebrity Tweetup that invites talent and other Sundance Festival attendees to gather and Tweet messages encouraging their followers to make donations to the organizations that are accepting funds related to the Haitian disaster. Proceeds raised from corporate sponsors of the event will be earmarked to benefit the victims. I’m supporting Unicef.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this crisis. I know from experience that members of the entertainment community can be counted on at times like this, and my partners and I are dedicated to doing what we can.” – LeVar Burton

The Tweetup will be held at The Tweet House, located at the SHOP Yoga Studio in Park City, Utah.

Click for map.

Connect with Brian Solis: Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Plaxo, or Facebook

We are now only one week away from the first Silicon Valley Tweetup of 2010. Come join 200 other Twitter-inclined socialites for networking, drinks and fundraising for the Twitterkids of Tanzania.

The event will take place on January 20th in San Jose’s Santana Row from 6-9pm at the V-Bar inside Hotel Valencia. Drinks and food will be provided; all that is asked for is a $10 donation to the charity. A netbook and an iPod touch will also be raffled off to benefit the Twitterkids.

Shel Israel will be attending and signing copies of his newest book ‘TwittervilleHow Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods’. This is the perfect opportunity to connect with Shel in person and pick up a great Twitter resource.

You can RSVP for the event here, and connect with the event organizers Michael BritoJennifer Leggio, and Gabriel Carrejo on Twitter.

Be sure to come by and say hi!

Disclaimer: I work for FutureWorks, one of the sponsors of this month’s Silicon Valley Tweetup. I also regularly attend these tweetups, and have a great time.

I love having the opportunity to connect with people through social media tools. I’ve reconnected with old friend, built bridges with former acquaintances and stayed in contact with those I see on a more frequent basis. From best friends to networking buddies, we’re all connected through one social network site or another.

A few weeks ago, I thought this would be a great tool to help my brother connect with some of the friends he’s made over the years. Let me tell you a little about big my brother, Peter. He has cerebral palsy and is quadriplegic. He can’t speak or communicate beyond a simple nod “yes” or “no”. He’s smart and stubborn, like all men in my family, and has a lot to offer the world, even though his body may limit him most of the time.

My brother and I get together to update Facebook as often as we can. It can be as simple as sharing what he had for dinner or posting the artwork he creates at one of his programs, Creativity Explored. He attends a program each weekday so it’s become an opportunity for communication between his aids and my family. His aids can share if he had a good day or a bad one and what they did so we know to ask Peter the right questions.

Facebook has also allowed for Peter to connect with his friends that have similar limitations. They may never be able to “talk” to one another but they can communicate through their Facebook pages and the person managing that page. I run everything by my brother before I post it and we play Farmville together. It’s not perfect but has opened so many communication doors. It has even inspired my brother to be interested in his communications device that he’s long given up on because it’s a challenge to learn to use. Bringing that enthusiasm into that challenge was difficult but Peter’s activities on Facebook presented and opportunity to reintroduce the idea.

My brother has 17 friends on Facebook. If this were a numbers race or some kind of client launch, it may not be viewed as a success but what we’ve been able to accomplish in the past few weeks is beyond measurable. There is not measurable ROI beyond the smile on his face when I show him some of the comments on his wall or the pictures posted by a friend. This is where I see the true value of social media: giving a voice to those that didn’t have one before.

*If you’re interested in checking out additional art by my brother and other artists at Creativity Explored, please click here for times/dates of gallery showings in San Francisco”

Thoughts from someone who has been on both sides of the fence:

As we gear up for CES 2010 this week, I want to point out what I think the Internet and Las Vegas have in common. Both are very special places near and dear to my heart. Everywhere I look, it amuses me with all this riff-raft about “media is dying.”  I often wonder what the hell a journalist is anyway. How is a journalist any different than a non-fiction storyteller? The fact is, we all have stories to tell. Every person on the planet is quickly being able to digital document their story as it happens.

In the past, “news” has been nothing more than what someone else, usually a wealthy high powered organization with direct ties to Wall Street and our government, would deem as important. Someone else controlling the flow of information to its audience, only producing content catering to whatever a room full of people see as important. Imagine that… until recently, the mindset of an entire city could be determined by maybe 100 or so people who produced “the news.” How do you know your priorities are the same as the man titled “News Director?” You don’t. When I write it out, it doesn’t even sound like a normal concept. I can’t imagine how nutty the dead concept will seem to future generations.

There is a little thing called Internet search that put old school media control to screeching halt. Before, humans have been forced to become products of a limited environment, living under geographic, informational, and cultural restraints. We have all been prisoners of prospective to whatever limited available media channels have allowed us to think. If perspective wasn’t greater than reality, well, America probably would not be at war right now.

Media is not dead, it is booming! Search is the new media. Access to almost anything is literally a point and click away. The key to controlling a channel is realizing that most intellectual, innovative minds don’t have time to untangle the unlimited amount of Internet streams for enriching stories relevant to their lives. That should be a media company’s role- pick out associated content relevant to your audience, create some, sort it, make it relevant.

The newspaper buyout initiative is such a huge waste of time, effort and government spending. Spend our taxes on increasing access of information to people, especially the poor, so they can learn about new opportunities and jobs. Don’t bail out large companies who are used to keeping control. Oh and create some jobs while you are it too, (that is a whole different post lol).

People want to talk about the public needing credible content they can trust. Ill tell you what is credible, a machine that generates facts with a probability of getting it right 99.999999 percent of the time. Who are you going to trust more? A police department’s data system that produces distinct data about crimes in your neighborhood, or the nightly news that tells you about a crime they think is important?  What a machine can’t do is tell an audience why they should care. That should be a media company’s (or blogger’s, or brand’s) role.

It amuses me how traditional media companies point fingers at companies such as Google and blame them for this revolution our world is enduring. To compare this to the last period of mast global economic change,  The Industrial Revolution; there was once a time in our culture where many people thought the the railroad industry would rule our country. Last time I checked, they weren’t.

A newspaper company blaming Google is like a woodcrafter blaming Henry Ford, or a village candlemaker blaming Albert Einstein. There are still plenty of wagon and candle makers, and they are probably doing just fine serving their set niche market. There will be more Googles of the world, more inventions and more game changers. Dominance does not last forever and eventually, all giants will take a fall. (ie. the current state of the auto industry).

Furthermore, what these insanely profitable technology companies cannot do is give you a relationship. If Google were a person to you, it would be the workaholic uncle always traveling the world. It may give you great resources to enhance your life, but it wont be at your backyard barbecue. New content channels should feed its audience breakfast in bed. Give them tasty tidbits that pertain to their life. Learn who they are, what they buy, where they live, and serve their every need with a silver spoon. More than anything, listen and give them an organized avenue to speak their mind.

I realize that new ideas = risk, and for many people thats why change is so difficult to implement. Risks are what allow you to grow. And I think the minute you are not growing, you are dead. I embrace change, discovery and innovation.

Las Vegas is a wonderful city that was built on fantasy, fulfilling dreams, equal opportunity, and instant gratification. To me, that is exactly what the Internet and the future of our global economy has become. Yes, just like the casinos, Google is the house and it will always win. It will always cash more than its players. So what. Learn to play game.  I am going to Double or Nothing in 2010, let’s hope luck is on my side. :)

Emily Gimmel is a TV reporter, producer, and writer with a decade of media experience. Visit for more of her thoughts and discoveries. You can also follow the self-proclaimed “Sexiness Advocate” on Twitter at @emilygimmel.