Leadership On the Edge

10 Must-Read Social Media & Leadership Stories From December 13-17

1. Social media will sell out soon–it’s better to get in now or never. Just look at hip-hop.

2. 7 tips that can help you boost your creativity.

3. Have a knotty problem? Turn on comedy central–it’ll help.

4. I like the angle (and the links). 20 Best Leadership Post’s from 2010.

5. Leaders take note: gossip and politics are intertwined, like it or not.

6. Google just launched Gmail delegation. It’s a great tool for on-the-go leaders.

7. Here’s a fun thread about what books made people better leaders. Great online conversation.

8. 10 truths about leadership. Good leaders keep learning.

9. A solid look at a exciting new leadership book: Bury My Heart at  Conference Room B.

10. And if you haven’t seen it yet, go see The King’s Speech. It’ll shine a light on leadership as well as the art of public speaking.

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Is There An Art to Email Management?

Tim Ferris in his book 4-Hour Work-Week admits that email was strangling his social life. In order to take control of his life he designed a very unique breed of email management. He created detailed auto-replies that instantly supplied people who wrote him a set of instructions, numbers, and helpful links.

He gave every curious customer and confused employee a list of resources so they could figure out their problems for themselves.

After months of trial and error Ferris’ auto-reply system along with the help of a virtual assistant based in India, gave him enough free time to practice tango (and other interesting hobbies).

Yes, I said virtual assistant based in India. You can virtual assistants on sites like Elance or Amazon’s Mechanical Turk at very reasonable rates.

The moral of Ferris’ story is simple. Get rid of email and other work distractions and soon you’ll be jet-setting around the globe while learning fascinating sports and enjoying different modes of entertainment.

Ferris’ email management system has the whiff of high art because, if practiced perfectly, it can guarantee that you will never have to touch a computer ever again.

But, realistically speaking–it’s too complicated,  mechanical, and detached for the common person in a common job.

Than we have the other school of email management.

The pragmatic email school–founded by LifeHacker and its disciples–suggest you employ a set of helpful tricks, tips, and corner-cutting strategies to bring your inbox to their holy number,  ‘0’.

Tips include: ‘prioritize your email, now!’, ‘craft effective messages, or else!’, and ‘use Gmail filters–they work!’

The list, repeated on blogs, in books, and by productivity gurus, continues in the same vain–trudging happily into murkier territory.

While the tricks are helpful they are often unrealistic, (never change your email address), or impractical (use a Gmail account). The pointers are helpful, but hardly applicable to people who switch jobs or are stuck in offices that block Gmail.

Ferris and the email pragmatics make great points–but ultimately there is no clear way, no path, no zen, and certainly no art to email management. At least not yet.

However, both email management styles share a common denominator–they are united by a golden thread. In one way or another they both stress writing succinct, clear, informative replies.

You can’t expect to have a clean inbox if you write and rapidly send messages filled with incomplete sentences, contradictory thoughts, and confusing commandments. If you do–you must expect and can’t begrudge emails with subject lines that beg for another reply: “Can you please clarify, ASAP.”

Photo Credit: Sassy Radish

Leadership On the Edge

Top 7 Social Media Links For Proactive Leaders

Leaders are increasingly using social technology to open up lines of communication, create feedback loops, and talk directly with customers and new markets. It’s important that proactive leaders keep updated on what’s trending in the world of social networking. This week, don’t miss these stories:

1. Google Buzz is an amalgamation of Twitter, Facebook, and your Gmail account. Good luck “just” checking your email. Find out more in this video.

2. Google’s planning to offer “ultrafast internet” to some of it’s consumers–putting phone and cable companies under pressure. The new super-internet would allow users to download a full movie–in a few minutes.

3. Facebook is 6 years old this month (along with Flickr). Turn to this chart to visualize Facebook’s amazing growth and success.

4. Meetings, deals, and even classes are done through Webinars. However, they demand a different way of public speaking. Here are some great tips.

5. Does your company have a social media policy? Don’t worry you’re hardly alone, according to Manpower.

6. Personal and company blogs often lose sight of their ideas and instead focus on the ‘traffic’–the ever rising and falling number of visitors. Here are 7 tips that will help you increase ‘traffic’ without forcing you to lose focus on your ideas.

7. It’s been a busy month for Google: they’ve also introduced a Labs feature in Google Maps. The new labs will let you play around with Google Maps in a whole bunch of different ways. With some imagination, the labs will prove invaluable for some businesses.

Photo Credit: / CC BY-NC 2.0

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Head in the Clouds: Businesses Must Deal With Cloud Computing

Cloud computing, a term originating from an old network designers’ icon, is really just the ability to access and use everything you normally work with and need on your PC–without your PC. In other words, it’s the ability to hop on the Internet, or hop in the ‘cloud’, and start working on your spreadsheets, updating your order-forms, and listening to your music without your PC, your flash drive, or your external hard drive. However, even the experts are having a hard time defining cloud computing’s scope, power, and use….

So what are the implications?

Everyone is trying to see this one coming. The New York Times suggests that cloud computing may lend itself to larger censorship. Business Week thinks more and more businesses will rely on it. Newsweek is guessing that the technology will help developing nations. And the Wall Street Journal is witnessing a trend every business is dying to get into.

The thing is…everyone is right. Cloud computing will be huge and it’ll be a boon for emerging economies, new businesses, and consumers. However, cloud computing also comes with its own set of problems: security and censorship key among them.

What does this mean for your office?

Cloud computing is neither swift nor capable enough to reliably support the files and data your business likely uses everyday….