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Tweets DO NOT = Mine

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Tweets = mine. You see it the Twitter profile of thousands, but are they really yours? The answer is “no.”

Tweets are only kept to yourself and a close group of friends if you have a private profile. However, if your profile is public, the tweets are never really yours. There are many instances when individuals get in a good amount of trouble for tweets posted. Sometimes they mistakenly post a personal tweet with the corporate or client account and sometimes it is related to their own personal account. No matter if you are the janitor, the brand manager, or the CEO, what you say can have a positive or in some cases very negative effect on a brand.

Here are a couple of cases when an individual’s tweets had some very negative effects for the brand they represent.

  1. The not-so-personal account. James Andrews of Ketchum PR hurt the reputation of his PR firm when he posted this tweet “True confession but I’m in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say ‘I would die if I had to live here!’” What he didn’t realize is that some employees of FedEx read this tweet when he landed in Memphis for corporate training on social media. FedEx fired Ketchum as a direct result. FedEx, being based in Memphis, cares very much about their hometown. When Andrew was speaking he represented FedEx as a brand even though he did not realize it. Read about the incident in Memphis’ Commercial Appeal.
  2. The oops-I-forgot-I-was-logged-into-the-corporate-account. Chrysler has had its fair share of issues over the last five years. The last thing they needed was somebody speaking negatively for their brand. However, the employee managing the Chrysler Twitter account made a mistake. Instead of posting to their personal account, they tweeted this message from the Chrysler corporate account: “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f#@%ing drive.” The company handling the Chrysler account, New Media Strategies, was fired immediately from the account. The person that made the mistake was also fired from New Media Strategies. Read about the whole incident here.

Why do these events matter to a brand? Twitter is public. Everyone can read it, and they do. Especially when you think they’re not reading or they won’t see it if you delete it really quickly. Think about when you were younger and your mom would tell you, “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say it at all.” That applies to social media, especially when you represent a brand.

How will you change the way you communicate on social media?

Article originally published on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the Brand here:  http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=15965

Guest Post: Who Do You Run With?

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runBy Steffen Dziczek

I’m not talking about your Couch to 5K Buddies or P90X playmates. No. I’m talking about your entire “pack” that surrounds you. Who have you chosen to surround yourself with? Now, this brings me to another very important and often over looked question; where am I going? Where do I want to be in 3 years, 5 years, a decade? We all know, and if you don’t this article might be an “Aha!” moment.

Life is interdependent. Some slogans tell you to live for now and its all about you, you, and only you. I challenge you to try that for a day and watch your friends fade and your work associates rant behind your back. Maybe it might even land you a comfy seat at the unemployment office come Monday morning because you decided to show up at work 2 hours late with a boom box playing the 2001 Space Odyssey wearing nothing but Sponge Bob boxers. But, hey, you’re living for you, right? Wrong. We need not only to be independent to the point we can pull our own weight, but also recognize we need others strengths where we are weak.

Who we run with currently does not have to be whom we run with in the future. If you dream of being successful at business, then surround yourself with people who are wiser and more successful at business. If you want to be a marketing director then surround yourself with people and knowledge about marketing and leadership. Don’t settle for being an employee; raise the bar to become a team member. I want to take a second to define employee verse team member. An employee is someone who shows up inconsistently on time, punches in, does what he/she has to do, and punches out. They are comfortable enough to stay but not uncomfortable enough to leave. However, a team member shows up early with an air of enthusiasm, because they know that at the end of the day they were a part of something greater than themselves. They are part of a team making a difference. They run with similar people. They are inline with their passions. Not only with themselves, but also with others who they surround themselves with five, maybe even six, days a week.

Are you a thoroughbred running with petting farm ponies, or are you running in your own Kentucky Derby? Are you running with like-minded people in all aspects of your life; personally, professionally and socially? I highly challenge you to take the time to ask yourself where you want to be and where you are going? Once you have the answer, then its time to execute with your inner thoroughbred compass. Yes, you may have to decline the weekly all-night beer pong competitions with your old college roomies because you meet at 7am with other industry leaders in your field for coffee on Saturday mornings. They may take it personally, but you have to stay your course and run like your life depended on it.

I guarantee, looking back, the things that were pleasure centered will not matter. Steve Jobs said, “ We can only connect the dots looking backward.” Stay focused. Stay determined. Start right now making those dots count. Hurry, the race has already begun!

Steffen Dziczek currently resides in Los Angeles, California. He’s a Detroit native, a place he will always call home. Steffen is an innovator, entrepreneur, and a teacher at heart. When he’s not busy building sustainable business’s for the future you can find him traveling, playing the drums, golfing and seeking out new experiences. Lastly, he relishes any chance to give back and volunteers his time at local community food banks. Be sure to check out his upcoming blog, Go Humans Go!

Ford’s Gone Scrappy

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Engagement. That is one of the key ideas behind getting consumers involved in your brand. After the American auto industry had their troubles, Ford had to reinvent the way it did its marketing or it would fail. One of the ways they did it was through engagement.

In a presentation at Madonna University by Jim Farley, Group Vice President, Global Marketing, Sales, and Service at Ford Motor Company, he said the company is “…very scrappy. Big, but scrappy.” What Farley meant by being scrappy is that the company changed their thoughts towards marketing. “When I came, marketing was an afterthought to sales,” he said. Farley changed all that. Ford had little time and money to get it right. They had to think on their feet and did not have any room for error.

Error they did not. Farley mentioned a number of scrappy marketing things the automaker did to reinvent the brand. These stood out the most:

  1. Focus ST Commercial: Ford closed down the streets at night in Key West. They brought in two new Focus STs and professional drivers. People gathered in the streets to watch the ‘race.’ Ford then asked those who came out to take video with their phones. Onlookers sent the videos to Ford and in the end it was the first user-generated cell phone commercial. It cost Ford virtually nothing. Watch the commercial.
  2. Focus Movement: In the Focus Movement, Ford launched the 2012 Ford Focus with Doug the Puppet. This was the first launch of a car by way of sock puppet. Scrappy? I think so.
  3. Mustang Customizer: Ford launched the Mustang Customizer, where consumers can go to the website and create their own new dream Mustang. Each week they list the fan-generated car of the week on their Facebook page. Ford’s success with this customizer has gone so big that it has pushed Mustang to have the largest following of any car in the world on Facebook with 4.58 million likes and counting.
  4. Random Acts of Fusion: For Random Acts of Fusion, Ford hired Ryan Seacrest and Joel McHale to give away 100 brand-new Ford Fusions all across America. The pair are giving away cars quicker than Elvis gave away Cadillacs. Along the way, Ford is filming a documentary. One look at ‘Random Acts‘ and you can tell that it is a brand builder that is revolutionary for the likes of an automaker.

These are just four examples of Ford’s brand-building success. Every example has a couple things in common. One, it has never been done in the industry before. It is socially engaging. It is out-of-the-box. It also hits its target market dead on. Farley’s bet on keeping the big automaker’s marketing ‘scrappy’ was what some in the beginning may have seen as risky, but it paid off.

What ways could being scrappy pay off for other brands?

Article originally published on the Talent Zoo at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=15901

Know The Past to Look Ahead

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“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” At the time Winston Churchill uttered those words I doubt he considered that he would be contributing to the world of social media. In fact, in his time ‘twitter’ meant to utter successive chirping noises. Fast forward to the 21st century and everything lives and dies on social media. Everyone wants to have the next trending topic and be the first to break the next big story. This content creation generation that we live in can at times be a double-edged sword.

Google the term ‘social media fail.’ What do you see? 154,000,000 results. That’s a lot of issues that public relations executives simply would not have had to deal with 10 years ago. This is the doubled-edged sword I am referring to. Social media has increased the visibility of many organizations by leaps and bounds. This is why we need to be careful. The person that is moderating your social media speaks for your brand. When you Google your company name the last thing you want to see besides it is #fail.

So now you ask, how do we stay away from the dreaded #fail? It is easy.

  1. Do your homework. The solutions, issues, and lessons are out there. It is your job to learn from them. Study the epic fails. What did they have to do to come back from it. Have they come back from it? Knowing this information can help you not only learn from someone else’s experiences but it may open your eyes to a way of dealing with a situation that you would have never thought of.
  2. Plan ahead. Plan your social media posts and framework in advance. Taking on the task of planning this out allows more time in the future to continue the conversation on the social networks. Of course when a hot topic is trending you simply cannot plan ahead. However, what you can do is your homework on the topic before you post. You may also actually have something in the queue that is relevant to the trending topic that you could bump up.
  3. Double check. Before any posting material, know what you are posting. It seems simple but it makes a difference. Double check things that are controllable such as tone, links, punctuation and spelling. Even if you have checked previously give it another look before you post. Also, double-check what is not controllable such as the trending topic that you are commenting on. Do not make the same mistake as Celeb Boutique with their #Aurora social media fail. They forgot the homework and did not do much planning for what would come next.

We are working in a content era where everything has a very short shelf life. The mistakes are being made by professionals around the world on a daily basis. Now I leave it to you. Would you rather make the mistake yourself, potentially losing your job and hurting the company’s image? Or, would you rather take the advice of Sir Winston Churchill and study the past to build the future? I choose the latter.

Read my original guest blog post on the Eastern Michigan University PRSSA blog: http://emuprssa.com/2012/11/06/guest-blog-don-mclean-know-the-past-to-look-ahead/

Home Depot Helps in the Sand(y) Box

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Hurricane, Superstorm, Frankenstorm. Whatever you call it, Hurricane Sandy is taking the East Coast by surprise. The is the biggest storm that this portion of America has seen since 1820. And who is there to help when others are running away? Home Depot.home-depot-logo

Home Depot has done a great job of marketing itself as a sort of storm headquarters. They are able to make supplies available such as batteries, generators, flashlights, chain saws, and the like, when others cannot. When Hurricane Irene came around the Home Depot increased their quarterly sales by a full percentage point. By the looks of things, Home Depot’s sales will be through the roof once again.

According to an Ad Age article entitled, How Adland Is Weathering Hurricane Sandy, Home Depot had this comment:

“Our goal is to be the last to close and the first to open. We stay open as long as we can, as long as it is safe for our associates to be there,” said Meghan King, a spokeswoman with Home Depot. “On the other hand, many stores have extended their hours to serve customers as long as possible. Hurricane planning is a year-round exercise for us, so our operations, merchandising and store teams know what to do and when to do it,” Ms. King added.

Home Depot has not only performed well at the retail level but they have also created their own hurricane command center. Doug Spiron, Captain of the Home Depot Command Center, said they are open 24/7 preparing for the storm. They have adequately supplied the stores in preparation for Hurricane Sandy and have trucks on hold to push more supplies into these areas. Watch the entire video interview with Doug here: http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/1932487849001/

When Home Depot is there, rooted in these areas that are desperate for supplies, customers will remember. They will remember Home Depot’s far-reaching social responsibility. Companies such as this that are good corporate citizens create lasting relationships with the communities in which they reside. Home Depot has done this and continues to do this in the wake of natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy.

Home Depot is a great example of how a solid marketing plan and dedication to social responsibility can not only be good for the public but also good for the corporate brand. They know that if you need help you will look for the infamous orange aprons.

What other companies have you seen that are taking a similar approach?

Kaizen for Your Goals Part 3: Wake Up and Smell the Cheese!

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Are you in a cheese-less situation? Although the critically acclaimed book “Who Moved My Cheese?”
who_moved_my_cheeseby Spencer Johnson, MD has been out since 1998, I finally read it yesterday. Yes, in one day. The book is only about 94 pages long and the type is large. It is by far the quickest read I have done since I was a young boy. Nevertheless it gives you a great understanding of what is important not only at work but in life.

The book outlines four characters: Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw. Without describing each of the characters you get the idea of where it is going. It is a story that seems more like a child’s fable than a lesson on managing change. Whether you admit it or not, everyone is one of these four characters in regards to dealing with change at work. By cheese Johnson means anything you want or have in life in regards to your level of comfort and status. Dr. Johnson outlines 7 key points in this story in regards to change.

  1. Change Happens They Keep Moving The Cheese
  2. Anticipate Change Get Ready For The Cheese To Move
  3. Monitor Change Smell The Cheese Often So You Know When It Is Getting Old
  4. Adapt To Change Quickly The Quicker You Let Go Of Old Cheese, The Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese
  5. Change Move With The Cheese
  6. Enjoy Change! Savor The Adventure And Enjoy The Taste Of New Cheese!
  7. Be Ready To Change Quickly And Enjoy It Again They Keep Moving The Cheese.

Out of all seven key points what is the common denominator? Change. Change happens, and we need to know how to deal with it and how to evolve. Change is not always evident so you must have a keen eye. In fact, you may be the one that needs to initiate the change. So let us start now. Read the book. Change your way of thinking to understand how you deal with change and how you need to improve. Change is not always easy but it is ultimately good even if it may not be evident immediately. As we all know, nothing ever stays the same.

Kaizen focuses on continual change for the better. My series, Kaizen For Your Goals, is about continually improving yourself. You can only do this with positive change. Sniff it out and don’t let your cheese get moldy.

How will you improve yourself to better deal with change?

This is Kaizen for your goals – continuous improvement.

Kaizen is about continuous improvement. Japanese automakers used this process to improve processes created by American automakers to steal market share. Now I have created a series entitled Kaizen for Your Goals. It’s about continually improving yourself to make your goals a reality quicker and more effectively. Small steps now = big results later.

Brad Pitt for Chanel No.5 – Revolutionary

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45.8 Million. That is the number of web pages that points to the Google search term “brad pitt chanel commercial.” Take off the term
chanel-no-5‘commercial’ and there are 82.5 million web pages. The Huffington Post says “There’s nothing you can’t sell with a black-and-white Brad Pitt talking nonsense in front of a neutral background.” SNL spoofed it the same week it came out. Conan O’Brien is talking about it on his show. I come home from work and there are talking about it on Extra. Does that sound really that bad?

Sure I admit that Pitt may come off as a little out of it, aloof, and generally not entertaining. However the television ad is not meant for me. It is meant for the woman who wears Chanel No.5 and the women who will hopefully want to wear Chanel No.5. It is a deeper commercial actually talking to a bottle of perfume and not a person. You have to think a little bit in watching the commercial and that is hard for some people. They are staying extremely focused on their brand message. In today’s society so many people are focused on reality television filled with drama, a lack of story, and in the end leaves you hoping for more. Chanel is not focused on this subset. Chanel is focused on the woman who will wear Chanel and appreciates some of the finer things in life.

Being the first male spokesperson for this brand was a huge transition for Chanel who has previously used the likes of Marilyn Monroe. For Chanel to spend $7 million on Brad Pitt they needed to make it worth their while. Why not make it something memorable? Few commercials outside of the Superbowl make headlines like this commercial has.

From a public relations standpoint, the public is not saying anything negative about Chanel No.5. They are making fun of the way Brad Pitt acts in the commercial. However, in all instances they ARE talking about Chanel No.5. Isn’t that the goal? Talk about their commercials has exploded virally. Over the years everyone has heard the saying ‘no publicity is bad publicity’.  And it is no more true than in this case. Will this commercial make you buy Chanel No.5? Maybe not. Will this commercial make you aware of Chanel No.5? Definitely.

Imagine coming up with the idea to film this commercial. After all it is more like a film. Black and white sets the tone. It separates it from other commercials. ‘Don’t blend in’ is on the whiteboard. Money in the budget is limited for worldwide exposure. Buy less media, add Brad Pitt. Done. He is a man so you have to be strategic in the message. Have an abstract story that few will understand and everyone will question. Make it so the viewer wants to watch it a few more times to try to understand it. Make it so that when they watch the commercial it would be better placed in a fine art gallery than on TV. Now you have done it. You have something different. The world questions different. The best things are different.

Where Do Great Ideas Come From?

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Do you ever catch yourself asking someone “How did you think of that?” We all have. It is always a great question because it helps you understand how people think – if they answer it honestly. Although, most of the time the answer is “it just came to me.”lightbulb

So how did they think of that great idea? I have gathered 5 eye-opening points that have helped me stay creative over the years.

  1. Diversify yourself. Step outside of your comfort zone. If you only watch sports, try watching a chick flick. If you go home every day after work, take up a hobby or two. If you make a ham sandwich for lunch everyday, go out. You get the idea. The key is that you need to keep yourself diversified. Try as many different things as you can. Take beer for example. You like to enjoy an ice-cold beer on a Friday night, right? You have choices. Instead of going home and pulling another cold one from the fridge you could go to the corner brewery. You could also dress up a little and go to Cliff Bell’s and listen to some great jazz while enjoying that brew or an old-fashioned. When you diversify yourself you open your eyes to things you may not normally think of or pay attention to. Anything can spark an idea. If you do the same things every day you are stuck in one target market that you may never be trying to appeal to. In turn, the ideas that you come up with may only appeal to your specific market and not necessarily the target market you are shooting for.
  2. Go outside. When is the last time you took a walk around the block or a bike ride? It seems really simple but it opens your mind. Just sitting at your desk does not always cut it. Sights, sounds, textures, and the like spark things in your mind. Have you ever heard of the American Family Life Assurance Company? Not unless I said AFLAC. In one of my graduate branding courses we learned the story of the AFLAC duck. How did they come up with that idea? The creatives at Kaplan Thaler went to lunch in an outdoor patio. They saw a duck. They kept repeating the word AFLAC. It started to sound like a duck. The rest is history. After they spent countless hours of brainstorming, all it took was them to take a walk outside and go to lunch. Go outside.
  3. Research other industries.  If you are in automotive do not just look for other ideas in the automotive circles. Look at the ideas that are being developed in other industries and see how it can relate your own. I am by no means telling you to steal someone’s idea. What I am telling you is to see how you can learn from it and potentially apply it to something else. You can always learn from others. The day you stop learning is the day you have failed yourself.
  4. Keep notes. I have probably lost more good ideas than I could ever remember. The problem is that I did not write them down. Type it, write it, scribble it, draw it, whatever works. Just get it down on paper. Even though the idea may not be the best idea now it may spark something else or you may see it in a different light later.  A good friend of mine was stuck in traffic a couple of months ago and out of nowhere came up with one of the best ideas I have heard in quite a while, a real game changer. By the time he was out of the backup he had already written down page after page of notes in an old notebook he kept for that very purpose. Don’t let the ideas slip away.
  5. Listen. Whether it is a story, a newscast,  or your spouse, yes your spouse, listen. I like to bounce ideas off my friends too. Listen to what they have to say. There is always something that you may not have thought of or an angle you have never ventured toward before. Everyone’s mind works differently. Listening is what helps fine tune your idea from what would be very good to something remarkable.

Reflect on these points from time to time. Stay hungry. Keep your mind sharp. That next great idea is just around the corner. What else do you do to keep your creative side fulfilled?

If you tweet it, they will read it.

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Is your social media coordinator qualified to speak for your brand? Have you ever actually thought about it?

1030887_53077079Social networking has been one of the number one things companies and ad agencies are focusing on today. Nearly everything is digital and has to happen now. This isn’t a bad thing, it just opens up to a new type of thinking. We need to remember that social networking is no longer just an add-on. It is a very large part of your company. Anything that is posted via social media from your corporate account represents your company. It is the quickest way to talk to your fan base.

If you tweet it, they will read it. Really think about that. We need to choose wisely when allowing someone to run your social media accounts. They speak for the entire brand. I cannot stress that enough. The reason I am focusing on this so much is because of a few recent instances of social media neglect. This neglect leads to a whole lot of crisis management. Here are two examples:

  1. Kitchenaid’s presidential election woes. The perpetweeter, person who tweets for a company and commits a social crime,  thought they were logged into their own personal profile. They were wrong. Logged into the company account, they continue on a derogatory rant about President Obama tagging #nbcpolitics via @KitchenAidUSA. Read the entire story here. This is where you must separate work and home life. Up until this point it seems as if a majority of social media is being updated by lower level coordinators instead of strategic thinkers. Although Kitchenaid did a good job cleaning up this mess, it was tweeted and it was read.
  2. Kim Kardashian inspired “Aurora” dress from Celeb Boutique. The shooting in Aurora, Colorado during a midnight screening of the Batman movie “Dark Knight Rises” was a horrible tragedy. The perpetweeter updating the Celeb Boutique twitter profile had no idea what had happened. They saw ‘Aurora’ as a trending topic and without looking into it further tweeted about the Kim Kardashian inspired Aurora dress. Read the entire story here. Before you make comments that can affect an entire company you must at least do a small amount of background research. It was tweeted and it was read.

With our evolving digital landscape there needs to be someone highly qualified sending out the tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram photos, and anything else that touches your target audience. You should treat this as carefully as you would treat a press release or press conference. Just because a person has a Facebook profile doesn’t make them a social media guru. It doesn’t matter what age the person running your social media is. All that matters is the experience that they have and the intimate understanding of your business and industry. Do your research and select a qualified person(s) to update your social accounts. Make sure this person understands your brand and maintains the professionalism your brand deserves. The time to act on this is before something happens.

What steps will you take to make sure your social media coordinator is qualified?

Kaizen for Your Goals, Part 2: Network to Win

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How would you like to go through your entire career and never have a resume? It’s really something to think about. Creating a resume is tough. Everyone has been through it. You sit down and try to put everything you ever did on paper and hope that it stands out to a hiring manager. But does it really matter, and how much emphasis should be put on networking?

At a recent Adcraft Club of Detroit party, I was sitting and striking up a conversation with a Sales Director, let’s call him Rick, I had met once before on a Detroit River cruise for a similar function. Since the party was starting out slow I struck up a conversation with him on his career, because, to me, knowing how somebody got where they are is priceless to my own growth. Anyways, Rick told me the most valuable thing you can ever do for your career is network. “Networking,” he said, “is about making personal connections.” Without the personal connection you are just another name on a piece of paper.

He went on to explain to me that, fail his first job, he never had a resume. He networked. Not just through networking events but through other means as well. Rick would find someone who was doing something that really interested him, an innovator. He would contact that innovator and ask to buy him/her a cup of coffee. “I haven’t been turned down yet,” he said. “Don’t burn any bridges,” Rick said later. The industry in much too small and tight-knit to leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth. It’s not that you will run into them in a future position it’s that you won’t be able to find a future position. Word travels fast. It’s important to keep a positive attitude at work and treat everyone with equal respect.

Here’s a few things to do to improve your networking skills:

  1. Research the people you want to talk to. For this you have to be creative. Follow their social networking accounts, if any. Get familiar with their work. Read overviews of presentations they have given. Find out as much as you can about them. They will realize that you are resourceful, smart, and driven. You may also be able to make some personal connections by reviewing these kinds of information and that always helps in the process.
  2. Know what questions you want answered. Don’t just assume they will give you all the information you want once you start talking. Obviously you want to let the conversation flow. It should be that, a conversation. Don’t have your questions come off like a firing line. If you run out of time now you have another reason to follow up. And respect their time. If they give you 15 minutes, don’t overstay your welcome.
  3. Know your story. Have a quick 15-30 second overview on your background ready. Don’t bore them with the details but when someone asks what you do be prepared with a solid story. This is something you should practice and have ready, your own elevator speech.
  4. Put yourself out there by scheduling your ‘coffee dates’, attending industry events, volunteering, and following up. The key is to network in as many ways as you can. Schedule the coffee dates as Rick suggests. Attend industry events and get involved in those groups. Also, don’t forget to follow up. Personally, I think handwritten notes are best.

If you are really interested in learning more about this topic I recommend a book by Pete Leibman entitled I Got My Dream Job and So Can You. What else do you recommend is important in networking?

This is Kaizen for your goals – continuous improvement.

Kaizen is about continuous improvement. Japanese automakers used this process to improve processes created by American automakers to steal market share. Now I have created a series entitled Kaizen for Your Goals. It’s about continually improving yourself to make your goals a reality quicker and more effectively. Small steps now = big results later.