Archive for ◊ December, 2013 ◊

• Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Since launching The Strategy Sessions in its original incarnation in 2004, and its current format on Blog Talk Radio in 2009, we have had a cadre of stellar leaders in business, entrepreneurship, health, travel, careers, and women’s issues share their strategies with our listeners. Last year, Blog Talk Radio took notice and now we are one of 300 featured show hosts on their network of almost 20,000, and are grateful to YOU for listening to, liking, and sharing The Strategy Sessions with others.

Airs on the 1st & 3rd Tuesdays at 11am ET

Our goal is to continue offering programming that is interesting, thought-provoking, and insightful. We thank our listeners for tuning in live, listening online, or subscribing to our podcast on iTunes. Most important, we appreciate our guests who always give great conversation! Hence, we share with you the top 5 most listened to episodes of 2013. Be sure to tune in on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month at 11:00 a.m. ET for our 2014 episodes.

The New Face of Diversity

Original airdate: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Guest: Elizabeth Riley-Williams, CEO & President of the American Conference on Diversity

Elizabeth Williams-Riley, American Conference on Diversity

Summary: Our guest talked with us about the sweeping legislative changes resulting from the November 2012 elections, including the DREAM Act and same sex marriage, diversity in the workplace and immigration.
Listen online or download the podcast on iTunes: http://tobtr.com/s/4223843
Connect with American Conference on Diversity
Phone: (732) 745-9330

Against the Odds

Original airdate: Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Guest: Rob Long, Graduate of Syracuse University and NFL Hopeful

Against the Odds: Rob Long

Summary: Our guest talked about his personal struggle after being diagnosed with brain cancer while attending Syracuse University in New York. Mr. Long shared what motivated him while battling cancer, how his faith and family encouraged him, and what’s next for the NFL aspirant.
Listen online or download the podcast on iTunes: http://tobtr.com/s/4624983
Connect with Rob Long
Twitter: @RobLong47

Preparing Women to Lead

Original airdate: Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Guest: Dawn Culpepper, Director of Programs and Operations, Public Leadership Education
Network (PLEN)

Dawn Culpepper from PLEN

Summary: Our guest highlighted programming that help young women prepare for leadership in the public sector, corporations, and the community. Ms. Culpepper also talked about the Women, Law, and Legal Advocacy Seminar and Networking Reception, featuring a keynote address by Heather Podesta.
Listen online or download the podcast in iTunes: http://tobtr.com/s/5564277
Connect with PLEN
Phone: (202) 872-1585
Online: www.plen.org
Twitter: @PLENNetwork

Meet the DC Pink Divas

Original airdate: Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Guest: Shyrea Thompson Robinson, Executive Director of the Capital City Area Heath Education Center (AHEC) and Rita Butler-Trewick, breast cancer survivor and member of the DC Pink Divas.

Shyrea Thompson-Robinson of Capital City AHEC

Summary: Our guests talked about their health initiatives for residents in the Washington, DC community, and specifically, their program, DC Pink Divas, which is a support system for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Listen online or download the podcast on iTunes: http://tobtr.com/s/4797863
Connect with the Capital City AHEC and DC Pink Divas
Phone: (202) 506-6122
Twitter: @DCPinkDivas

Annual Road Trip with AAA

Original airdate: Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Guest: Heather Hunter, Director of Public Relations at AAA

Heather Hunter from AAA

Summary: Our guest highlighted some of the summer popular vacation spots, travel tips, and strategies for traveling with the family, alone, and with pets.
Listen online or download the podcast on iTunes: http://tobtr.com/s/5120849
Connect with AAA
Online: www.aaa.com
Twitter: @AAANews and @AAA_Travel
Do you have a story idea, or are you a publicist who would like to recommend your client as a potential guest? Please email talkback@ksgsc.com for consideration. We also have exclusive sponsorship opportunities that meet most budgets. Email showsponsorship@ksgsc.com for more information.
DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that highlights information on business, entrepreneurship, careers and the workplace, health, community, and women’s issues. Any content or advice dispensed through Ask The Strategist is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. All content is the property of Ask The Strategist and affiliated companies unless otherwise noted. We occasionally address questions from our readers and subscribers in posts. Send your question or conundrum  via video or regular email to ask@ksgsc.com. All submissions become the property of Ask The Strategist. Names and other identifying information may be changed to protect the person asking for advice.
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• Monday, December 16th, 2013

Five Valuable Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Beyoncé

Beyoncé's surprise CD release holds 5 valuable lessons for entrepreneurs. Photo Credit: Invision for Parkwood Entertainment

Whether or not you like Beyoncé or her music, she has proven, yet again, that she is at the top of her game and a stellar marketing magnate.  The singer stunned music industry insiders and her fans alike with her surprise fifth studio CD release with no fanfare last Friday, and in the process, has taught entrepreneurs five valuable lessons they can employ, whether they run empires, or are just getting started. The singer’s self-titled compilation enjoyed the highest sales of a debut on iTunes in the company’s history, with more than 600,000 units sold within three days of the release.

Innovation is key

Mrs. Carter has shown us how innovation – approaching situations, projects, and challenges with a fresh eye and a bit of creativity – can help unleash ideas
that, if they are good ones implemented at the right time, can propel businesses and brands to the next level of success, or awareness.

Being stagnant is no fun for those in charge of running a business. Ideas don’t flow, and frustration ensues. What we can learn from Beyoncé in her evolutionary approach to her career is that innovation never goes stale, no matter how established you are in your industry.

Know and Respect Your Brand

If you followed comments in the Twitterverse about Beyoncé’s CD release, many people – including her colleagues in entertainment – opined that she is the only established artist who could take such a nontraditional, yet aggressive, risk and succeed.

A huge part of the decision to use iTunes as the conduit for her new music, I assume, was greatly influenced by Beyoncé knowing and respecting her own brand. When you know that your product or service is one that appeals to your target audience, and your brand is appealing to your followers, customers, or constituency, it gives you latitude to explore creative ways to share new products or services. As the adage goes, confidence is key. If you are confident about your brand, others will often take you
seriously, even if your company is relatively unknown.

Risk Can Be Gratifying

Most of us are averse to extreme risk in growing or expanding business opportunities, or in some cases, decrease or redefine products or services offered. Taking a risk, after all, can mean lost revenue, staff reduction, or unfavorable feedback from customers or strategic alliances. As in financial investment, a certain level of risk is a necessary element in eventually reaping a big reward.

Even for an established artist like Beyoncé, a surprise CD release in a unique format was a very risky move, but she  has proven that taking chances, research, preparation, and a stellar work ethic combined are the hallmarks of a successful entrepreneur. Whether or not the the end result is a roaring success, such as getting your product in a store that typically wouldn’t carry it, or launching a social media campaign that nets thousands of loyal customers, risk can help reduce the fear that keeps business owners and company decision-makers from evolving.

Plus, taking a risk and assessing its impact can be helpful in determining if timing, resources, or staffing influenced the outcome. Then, use that data to
retool the risk and try again, hopefully, with more success if it doesn’t go according to plan the first time.

Don’t Be Consumed By Public Opinion

In an age where people can berate you on social media, it takes a tough person to ignore the comments, harsh criticism, and opinions and get on with it. Without uttering a word, Beyoncé has let the recording industry and the world know that she is not consumed by what critics, or even her own record label, think of her music, and ultimately, the songstress’ strategy for how she wanted to distribute her music.

Great ideas or novel concepts aren’t always understood or appreciated, even though our guts, research, or soft promotions have told us otherwise. Hearing objections to our ideas, or being criticized because the time isn’t right, people don’t get the concept, or the idea has never been done before by the company, can influence our courage to boldly make the move anyway.

Feedback is essential from customers, strategic alliances, and collaborators; however, if harsh criticism is the sole consideration in deciding whether or not to move forward with an idea, you may need to ignore the contrarians and implement it anyway. Who knows? It could be the next Facebook, Amazon.com, or Trader Joe’s.

 

Keep Your Mouth Shut

I can only imagine how hard it was for Beyoncé to keep this historic entertainment move a secret. Confidentiality agreements aside, this is probably my favorite lesson from the songstress.

How many entrepreneurs have had ideas hijacked by people because they talked too much about their plans before all of the details were
in place and established in a way that no other person could lay claim to the concept?

While Beyoncé may not have worried about competition as the primary reason for keeping mum about the visual concept CD, great ideas
implemented at the right time can mean a financial bonanza, or priceless media coverage. She will undoubtedly enjoy both as the momentum continues.

I am sure that other entertainers are taking notes and learning from Beyoncé’s innovative and creative approach to her career, which may
influence how digital music as a primary CD release platform is used in the future. Ultimately, Beyoncé’s fearless – and lucrative – move is a lesson for
all business owners to take notice of and create their own unique ways of promoting their brand, services, and products.

 

DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that highlights information on business, entrepreneurship, careers and the workplace, health, community, and women’s issues. Any content or advice dispensed through Ask The Strategist is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. All content is the property of Ask The Strategist and affiliated companies unless otherwise noted. We occasionally address questions from our readers and subscribers in posts. Send your question or conundrum  via video or regular email to ask@ksgsc.com. All submissions become the property of Ask The Strategist. Names and other identifying information may be changed to protect the person asking for advice.

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• Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Close Encounters with Nelson Mandela

South African President Nelson Mandela at Howard University in 1994. Photo credit: Howard University

As I sit watching Nelson Mandela’s funeral this morning on television, I thought about how this titan who championed for equality, humanity, and harmony influenced so many people across the globe. Drawing world leaders who said goodbye to South Africa’s father during the week-long celebration of Mr. Mandela’s life, they laid aside differences to salute a courageous man who endured more than most of us would willingly suffer.

But, as I watch his funeral, I think back to when I was a child and hearing about Nelson Mandela for the first time. He was still imprisoned then, and apartheid and its effects on South Africa’s people and economy seemed like a mystical concept to my naïve self. I could not imagine experiencing such oppression and the dismal outlook that many residents must have felt at the time.

The increasing spotlight on apartheid, and its wide-reaching effects in South Africa, influenced music celebrating Mr. Mandela’s courageous stand and denouncement of the separatist institution, including the song Free Nelson Mandela, released in 1984, by Jerry Dammers and The Special A.K.A. I remember hearing the song and seeing the video, wondering how one man could spark such an outpour of support and love from his country and people from around the globe.

VIDEO: Jerry Dammers, Special A.K.A., featuring Amy Winehouse, sing to Mandela on his birthday in 2008

Years later, I experienced my own close encounter with Nelson Mandela, a Herculean symbol of leadership to me, whom I laid eyes on at my undergraduate alma mater, Howard University, in Washington, DC. I still recall the buzz that permeated the campus when Nelson Mandela received an Honorary Doctorate degree during the University’s Convocation in October 1994, the same year he became president of South Africa, and just four years after serving almost three decades in prison.

Sometimes, especially as carefree youth, we don’t know when we are facing close encounters with history; but, on that extraordinary day on campus, many of us knew we had encountered greatness – if only briefly – in a man whose legacy would live on in us all. And, it will.

Rest in peace, Madiba.

 

DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that highlights information on business, entrepreneurship, careers and the workplace, health, community, and women’s issues. Any content or advice dispensed through Ask The Strategist is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. All content is the property of Ask The Strategist and affiliated companies unless otherwise noted. We occasionally address questions from our readers and subscribers in posts. Send your question or conundrum  via video or regular email to ask@ksgsc.com. All submissions become the property of Ask The Strategist. Names and other identifying information may be changed to protect the person asking for advice.

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• Monday, December 09th, 2013

Staying productive while snowed-in

You can stay productive while snowed-in today!

Many of us along the Eastern seaboard are stuck inside after a brutal snowfall over the weekend, resulting in slick streets, icy roads, and general weather yuckiness. Sure, we would like to go out and make snow angels with the kids, or catch up on some guilty pleasure TV (cue the Housewives of whatever city), but the truth of the matter is that we still have to work.

So, here are five tips to keep you focused and productive while you are stuck indoors working.

Play first, then work

If you are like me, snow is actually a welcomed friend that I’m happy to see. So, to shake off the excitability and get focused, allow yourself time to revel at the winter wonderland for a few moments, including calling your loved ones to commiserate, and then get your workspace ready and operational. Having satisfied the kid inside of you before getting to work, you can reduce the urge to stray away from work.

Prioritize your day

You probably prioritize work responsibilities anyway, so tweak your agenda to include unanticipated interruptions, scheduling a play date for the kids because school is closed, shoveling the sidewalk, impromptu office teleconferences, and altered project due dates. If you are the most productive early in the morning, work on the most complicated tasks, or the assignments that take the most time to complete, at the beginning of the day.

Give yourself a break

For some people, working solo at home means that they can work nonstop with little interruption. That means progress, right? Sometimes, it can lead to burnout, brain freeze and frustration. So, schedule brief reprieves during your home-day workday. Take a coffee or tea break, make sure you have a bite to eat for lunch, and give those fast fingers a break from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

Stay connected

Staying connected with co-workers and team members while working from home during bad weather creates camaraderie, and keeps you on task. Checking in also helps you stay in touch on project updates, gain management input, and inspire collaboration through trading ideas in a more relaxed environment (your home!) and one-on-one conversations that may not happen during a normal day at work.

In addition, if snowy weather gets you down, staying connected to co-workers can help ease the effects of cabin fever.

Establish a routine and stick with it

Discipline can be tough in the best of circumstances. Staying on task when working alone at home can test your resolve, so it is a good idea to establish a work routine – especially if you anticipate being at home for more than one day – to help you keep on track with expectations from your supervisor, client, and colleagues on your project team.

Do you have any tips that help you productive during a wild weather shut-in? Share in the comment section below, or Tweet us @CareerConnectDC using hashtag #CCSnowDay.

DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that highlights information on business, entrepreneurship, careers and the workplace, health, community, and women’s issues. Any content or advice dispensed through Ask The Strategist is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. All content is the property of Ask The Strategist and affiliated companies unless otherwise noted. We occasionally address questions from our readers and subscribers in posts. Send your question or conundrum  via video or regular email to ask@ksgsc.com. All submissions become the property of Ask The Strategist. Names and other identifying information may be changed to protect the person asking for advice.

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• Friday, December 06th, 2013
Sneak Peek: Super Soul Sunday with Oprah Winfrey and Howard Schultz

Ask The Strategist has been given an exclusive preview of Oprah  Winfrey’s interview with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on Super Soul Sunday, which airs this Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 11 a.m. ET on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. Winfrey sits down with Schultz, who shares the story of his inspiring rise from the housing projects in Brooklyn, New York, to his current role as a successful entrepreneur, global thought leader, and innovator.

Schultz will share the leadership lessons he’s learned while guiding this iconic brand for more than three decades, discussing how an emphasis on ethics, authenticity and a people-before-profit philosophy helped to grow and sustain his multi-billion dollar company.

Reflecting on his #1 New York Times bestseller, “Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul,” Schultz recounts the story behind the global coffee company’s comeback in 2008, when he decided to return as the CEO to help restore Starbucks’ core values and mission to inspire and nurture the human spirit – “one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”

 

Oprah Winfrey with Howard Schultz. Photo Credit © Harpo Studios, Inc./George Burns

Following are three excerpts and video clips of Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Howard Schultz on Super Soul Sunday on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

EXCERPT: One of Howard’s Principles: “Don’t Be Threatened By People Smarter Than You”

OPRAH: And I know that you’re guided by your own values and your own set of principles.  There are four that you talk about that I love: Don’t be threatened by people smarter than you. Can you speak to that?

HOWARD: You can’t build any kind of organization if you’re not gonna surround yourself with people who have experience and skill base beyond your own.  Only as if those people have like-minded values.

OPRAH: That is the key to starting anything.

HOWARD: That’s the key.  And I think when you discover perhaps that these people do not have those values, then you have to have a very quick conversation.  And if they don’t demonstrate that kind of behavior, not everyone deserves to be on the team.

OPRAH: Compromise anything but your core values.  That’s what you say.

HOWARD: Short-term success is not going to build long-term value for anyone.  And we live in an age where everything is based on the short term.  And I think what we’re trying to do and what we’ve demonstrated is very –

OPRAH: You had to fight that in your own culture.

HOWARD: We did.

OPRAH: Yeah.

HOWARD: It’s hard to do.

View the video: “Don’t Be Threatened by People Smarter Than You”

EXCERPT: Howard on the Importance of a Leader to be Vulnerable

OPRAH: You say it’s important as a leader –

HOWARD: To be vulnerable.

OPRAH: — to be vulnerable. Where’d you learn that?

HOWARD: Well, when I stood up in front of people and I — I apologized and started crying that first week.

OPRAH: Which is not what CEO’s do.

HOWARD: Especially men. I think we’re taught as men to — you know, but I think vulnerability is transparency.  And what I said earlier is I think the currency of leadership is transparency and you’ve got to be truthful. So I don’t think it’s — I don’t think you should be vulnerable every day.

OPRAH: Right.

HOWARD: But there are moments where you’ve got to share your soul and your conscience with people and show them who you are and not be afraid of it.

View the video: The Importance of a Leader to be Vulnerable

EXCERPT:  Howard finding Starbucks at a “Spiritual Crisis” Upon His Return to the Company in 2008

OPRAH: Would you say that Starbucks was in a spiritual crisis?

HOWARD: Yes, I would.

OPRAH: Mm-hmm.

HOWARD: And I would say that — I would also say that most of the problems we had were self-induced mistakes.  And I stood in front of the entire employee base of the company, our partners, and said — apologized for, as leaders, that we had let them and their families down.  But we were gonna return the company back to its glory days.

OPRAH: Okay.  So in those days where you knew the company — the company had lost its way –

HOWARD: Yes.

OPRAH: – was in its own spiritual crisis, did you debate whether or not you should jump back in or not?  I know — I know –

HOWARD: First of all, I never planned to come back to Starbucks.  But, again, this is about love.

OPRAH: Because you’d stepped down at CEO.

HOWARD: I did.  This is about love.  This is about passion.  This is about responsibility.  And it’s about leadership.  And there was no second thought whatsoever.  I came back to lead the company back.  But I also needed help from others. And I needed people to believe.  And we started doing things that were quite unorthodox, uncharacteristic of a company that was in trouble, especially during the financial crisis.

View the video: Starbucks Spiritual Crisis

Find OWN in your area

For more information about Super Soul Saturday, visit:

http://www.oprah.com/own-super-soul-sunday/super-soul-sunday.html

DISCLAIMER: ASK THE STRATEGIST is a blog that highlights information on business, entrepreneurship, careers and the workplace, health, community, and women’s issues. Any content or advice dispensed through Ask The Strategist is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. All content is the property of Ask The Strategist and affiliated companies unless otherwise noted. We occasionally address questions from our readers and subscribers in posts. Send your question or conundrum  via video or regular email to ask@ksgsc.com. All submissions become the property of Ask The Strategist. Names and other identifying information may be changed to protect the person asking for advice.

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