Leading Happy

Where Leadership and Happiness Collide

Category: Branding

Making “WOW” Happen!


I am currently reading Michael Hyatt’s Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.

I have actually read it before when it first released but never followed through with the principles. Am I the only one that does that?

This go around I am reading to apply, but wanted to share some of the bigger insights with you all.

Since I pretty much read as my hobby, I will read, summarize, and save you time. Now that’s what we call a Win-Win!

So here are Hyatt’s six ways to find the courage to make “wow” happen:

  1. Take a stand for greatness.

  2. Connect with the original vision.

  3. Remind yourself what is at stake.

  4. Listen to your heart.

  5. Speak up.

  6. Be stubborn.

Seems so simple right? Well Hyatt goes into creative depth on these points to not only motivate but to provide guru-like advice. Know this, I do not bestow the Guru title on anyone, but this book is Michael Hyatt’s journey from leaving a CEO job to become a blogger, podcaster, and speaker. He is a personal brand genius because he tried ideas, through out the junk and honed in on the principles that worked.

For example, “Remind yourself what is at stake,” (3) is about knowing that you will fail, you will get frustrated, and you will want to quit. Personal branding and getting your ideas out in the world is what is at stake. The world needs your ideas, your council, and your charisma. There are people out there that only you can inspire and reach. What’s at stake is you! You matter. Preserve!

People want to be wowed. People want to hear the story of personal courage. Speak up, be stubborn, and take a stand for what is great.

We often hear people say, Bring it! I like to say, Bring WOW! @MichaelHyatt feel free to quote me! Click To Tweet

So I will continue to post fun ideas from Hyatt’s book and mix my thoughts in there, but I highly suggest you get a copy and get your message…your WOW…out there into the world that needs it!

Bring your WOW and get noticed in this noisy world!

Creating Unforgettable Experiences


Creating a an Unforgettable Experience by Brad Lomenick, director of Catalyst

Basic Overview: These are my notes from a breakout session from 2012 at the NYCL Conference in Atlanta. Brad discussed the 10 creative core values that govern his team as they plan the Catalyst conference.  The two things he asks him team to bring to the creative meetings are: 1. Your creative ideas and 2. Your sense of discernment. People need to contribute both with ideas and debate ideas.

1. It is not about us!

His team is to position themselves with palms up and hands open.

No one should have clenched fists on ideas of the past, present, or future.

2. It is about uniting leaders, not dividing them.

Structured as a community and collaborative effort.

Not about individuals but ideals.

World thinks the church culture does not unite well. They are here to disprove that idea.

Nothing is more valuable than unity in leadership.

Start with the idea of generosity. Sharing is big in society today. Social Media is the leader in this area.

Be defined by what you are for and not what you are against.

Remember it is about the larger win; not personal gain. Give all away that you learn or achieve.

3. The event must be about the experience.

Content is consumable, out there everywhere, and is typically free.

People care about the collective experience, not the content of the event.

Value all the five senses and not simply auditory and visual.

What will they leave talking about beyond the message (if they are even talking about the message anyway)?

4. Make it Personality-less.

Don’t build the experience around just one personality. (Explained the transition from John Maxwell to the team approach to Catalyst.)

Events should not be about who, but about what and why – what will I learn and why will it help me in my daily life or work.

This society is about the tribe, the brand, not just one personality.

Design with the communal nature in mind.

Even if the event is more or less personality based, learn to continue to celebrate the entire team to balance it out.

5. Create a big vision and challenge your tribe to buy-in.

The overall goals are about dreaming big and creating inspiring movement.

Think bigger than expected but do not dismiss reality as a part of the equation.

Don’t let reality keep you from dreaming, but let it help you when it comes to actual and possible execution of the dream.

6. Authenticity must be valued since we are all humans.

This generation sees a fake a mile away.

Be you, but do it creatively. Don’t force who you are not.

Be with your people. Get the pulse and feel of their lives.

No leader is such a big deal that he cannot connect with his followers.

Be real and be reachable.

7. Causes and Social Movements are the new norm.

Social Media is king. Innovation is a tweet away.

This generation is about social justice.

The Kony video is a great example.

Create connection through social media as much as you can to foster online communities and forums to spread your ideas and values.

Go to the people, don’t fight to bring them to you – social media is key here.

8. Honor the sages and mentors before you.

This is often forgotten in the younger generation of leaders.

Invite the seasoned leaders to be a part of the creative process.

Creativity is not limited to only younger people.

Have them speak, let them give input, honor their voice in what you do.

This is an area you have to be intentional, because it is not natural.

9. Create a product that you love!

If you do not love your own event, why would anyone else?

If you do not want to come to your event or want to invite others to your event, you have a major disconnect.

Create in a manner that gets you excited about your own event.

This needs to play a major role in planning.

10. Set a standard that scares you.

Excellence is the standard.

To be different is the standard.

Something that has yet to be done but needs to be done.

Make it hard to top your best moments.

These standards will shock you out of the normalcy trap and scare you (in a good way).

Keeping Brand Loyalty While Growing

brand pic blog

Healthy Growth + Brand Loyalty = MISSION SUCCESS

We all want people, especially new people, to become entirely committed to our brand (culture/mission/values). Yet, commitment to the brand can, at times, create an adverse tension between brand identity and the fresh energy coming from new blood. The process of outsiders becoming loyal insiders is one filled with increasing tension unique to the brand you’ve created.

Tension is good, but only to a point. Too much tension and you are in danger of snapping. Too little tension and you have languishing energy. Thus, sticking with only the old guard can mean stagnation at best and death at worst, while increasing influx of new blood can bring a fresh vitality but distort the brand altogether.

So the challenge becomes, “How do you attract and keep new people while preserving healthy brand loyalty?”

Here is where Ben Arment stimulated my thinking with five perspective changes:

  1. Treat new blood with the exact same respect and attention you give to the old guard. Notice, you don’t stop caring for those loyal to the brand, you simply treat those new to it with a bit more time and attention. Who needs the attention, the one who is “all in” or the one who is teetering on a commitment?
  1. Drop the jokes that only an insider would understand and find humorous. Appeal to the masses, not those who already know the, “brand speech.” Inside jokes leave new people feeling like the “third wheel” at the party.
  1. Clarify brand lingo and culture as soon as you can, in as plain language as possible. Some parts of brand identity must be said up front since they are irreducible. Make sure to only force as much of that lingo as possible on new people (as you continually lead them towards other nonnegotiables of brand identity). Think process, not event.
  1. Leave all the politics and privileges out. No one likes jumping through hoops or appealing to old guard politics to gain access. New people will simply move on. Although certain privileges comes with time and loyalty, makes sure that does not hinder new people from joining in as soon as possible at appropriate levels.
  1. Never put your personal bias ahead of the true brand. If everyone adapted a brand to his or her personal likes and dislikes, the brand becomes diluted as it cascades through the organization. We all have biases and there is nothing wrong with admitting and recognizing that truth. What must never be done is allowing that bias to contaminate the brand.

Taking into consideration these five challenges leads to two powerful questions:

  1. What is hindering new blood from becoming loyal to your brand? (For example, does one of the previous five ideas resonate with issues in your organization? Or would you add one to the list?)
  1. What tension does your brand identity cause that you could actually use to your advantage, if managed well? (If tension is present, why not maximize it for potential growth?)

In the end, no organization wishes to capitulate to being stagnant. Nevertheless, organizations that thrive in both brand identity and increased growth are ones that tackle with unbiased ferocity the problematic issues mentioned here. Simplistically, it all comes down to what you say and how you say it (body language included). So in every interaction, use your words, and the actions that accompany them, wisely.


Note: these are my notes adapted from a Century Leadership directional team discussion with Ben Arment – author, speaker, and creator of STORY in Chicago (www.benarment.com)

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