7 Steps of Crisis Leadership

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Photo by krystenn on flickr.

It happens.

A crisis.  A major problem.  A disaster.

If it hasn’t happened to you, my guess is that it will.  Most all of us will find a time in our careers when we are right in the middle of it.

Several times in my career, I’ve found myself in difficult situations.  For me, I find it may be stressful, but also energizing at the same time.  At least a crisis is a reason to take quick, decisive action because a lot is on the line.

What do you do when you find yourself in a really tough situation?

The Creative Processes of 4 Best-Selling Thriller Writers

A few months ago at Book Expo America, I had the opportunity to interview four of the premier thriller writers today:

Brad Meltzer (The Inner Circle, The Book of Fate, The Tenth Justice)

Michael Connelly (The Lincoln Lawyer, The Poet, Blood Work)

Michael Koryta (The Prophet, The Ridge, The Cypress House)

Nelson DeMille (The Gold Coast, Plumb Island, The General’s Daughter)

They have each sold millions of books and regularly top the bestseller lists.

We talked about a number of topics including:

Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count?

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Our democratic form of government relies on the accuracy of our elections, but how reliable are they?  What are the dangers of the technologies we are using?  In a fascinating new book Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count?, Douglas Jones and Barbara Simons take readers on a journey through historical issues with voting technologies to modern day issues and the finally ending with recommendations for today.

Whether you are Democrat, Republican, Independent or a member of another party, the integrity of the process is critical.  As elections are now decided by a smaller and smaller number of votes, the perfection we expect will perhaps be scrutinized like never before.

My interview with Barbara Simons:

Your book Broken Ballots is a comprehensive review of the process of counting votes.  It begins with a sweeping view of the use of ballot technology.

I was fascinated to read so many examples of election issues throughout our nation’s history.  Share with us one or two of the more memorable events you outlined in the book.

Unfortunately, there are many examples of machine melt-downs and failures to choose from.  Two that I think are illustrative of the problems of paperless voting occurred in Cartaret County, NC in 2004 and Sarasota, FL in 2006.

Which Creative Style Are You?

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Photo by lumaxart on flickr.

As readers of this blog know, I’ve long been interested in innovation.  Is there a creative gene?  Are you able to develop it like a skill?  How can company culture be changed to improve the odds in favor of creative teams?

The International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State University offers programs in creativity.  Chris Grivas and Gerrard Puccio wrote The Innovative Team to make fifty years of research at the institution available outside of the academic institution.  Gerard Puccio is department chair and professor at Buffalo State University, and Chris Grivas is an organizational and leadership development consultant.

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with Chris about the book and his observations on innovation.

What first started your interest in innovation?

Back in the days when I was in college, I had what can best be described as a “grunt” job.  It was long days with people vying to work the weekends where they would get extra pay.  Most of my colleagues did not have college degrees and few could have hoped for a better job.  They seem resigned to accept this state of life rather than work on improving their options.  Why would people settle for a life like this?  What would inspire them to do something more and find a way to make it work?  I talked with friends and professors about it, and one answer that came up made a lot of sense to me – it’s about how they use their creativity.  If they were confident in their ability to create new alternatives, they may become inspired to innovate their way to a better life.  Now that was a topic that got me excited, so I went on to explore it in graduate school.

You decided to write this book in story form.  Why?

13 Tips for Twitter Effectiveness

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Photo by cobalt123 on flickr.

This time last year, I was a Twitter skeptic.  How do you find the time to tweet?  Who cares what you ate for dinner?  I don’t care what you are watching on TV.

What I knew of the service was limited because I wasn’t a participant.  My judgment of Twitter was like watching a show from the obstructed view section, then trying to rate the performance.

I finally joined Twitter and sent my first tweet on November 16, 2011.  A month later, I was fully “Twidicted.”  I launched a blog and one of my first posts was Why You Shouldn’t Avoid Twitter Any Longer.

As I started to gain followers, I learned a great deal from them.  Here are some of my Twitter tips and common mistakes (yes, many of which I proudly made personally).

Tip 1:  Learn from role models.

 Once I joined, I jumped right in.  Watching others, reading articles, and asking questions was all part of the fun.  Peppering my celebrity and non-celebrity friends alike about how they use the service made an interesting subject.

The Twitter community is made up of people happy to help, who love the service, and have information to share.  Ask away.

For me, the key question was:  How do I use this social media tool effectively?

 Tip 2:  Start with purpose.