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If Not You, Then Who?

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The Challenge

I have a confession to make. I am an Oprah junkie. Ever since I got XM radio in my car, I am glued to the Oprah & Friends station. I find all of her ‘Friends’ to be very inspirational. I laugh, I cry…and very often I find myself going ‘Hmmm’ (like that song in the early nineties…things that make you go hmmm hmmm hmmm).

Today was a Hmmm day when I heard Oprah’s friend, Dr. Robin do a show about politics. Dr. Robin is a psychologist, so the show was not about the candidates and the issues but more about the attitudes of us watching the national campaigns. The point being made was about how we are so critical of our leaders and hold them up to some clear set of expectations, yet we don’t hold ourselves to those very same expectations. That, if we honestly sit back and reflect, we will see a big disconnect between what is acceptable for ourselves and what we expect from them.

So the challenge from Dr. Robin today was for all of us to take responsibility for holding ourselves to the standard we expect from our leaders. She used my favorite quote “You must be the change you wish to see in the world” to emphasize her point that, instead of sitting back and picking apart and criticizing the candidates…instead of watching and waiting and wondering how these people are going to make our lives better…we should be turning that energy inward. Yes, the election is important but not to the exclusion of, and certainly not more than, our own individual responsibility to the world. What a big difference it would make in the world, she said, if we all did that right now, today, and figured out how we can make a positive difference in our own little corner of the universe.

I myself have already tried to accept this challenge. Actually, before this current national political campaign, and before ever even hearing of Dr. Robin, I had adopted this policy of ‘doing’ for the community instead of expecting someone else to take care of things. I can’t even pinpoint when this began or how it came about because it seems like I’ve always been involved with some volunteer activity or another, at least in most of my adult life. But I have always felt that sitting back and criticizing leaders is not real helpful. That telling others you should be doing this or you should be doing that is not really fair. In other words, armchair quarterbacks suck.

Answering The Call

It all really began to come together for me about 4 years ago when I made the decision to run for the Board of my Homeowner’s Association. I had been a Volunteer for a year or so and was Chairing the Communications Committee, which produced the bi-monthly newsletter in addition to some other responsibilities. It was not an easy job and took a big commitment of time and energy to do. So when I started having trouble with the Board because of their need to micromanage and use Volunteers to do the hard work without allowing them to have any real voice in how things should be, I knew that change needed to be made. The Board at the time was not very well-liked and had the reputation of being an old boys club that worked in a kind of bubble, oblivious to the needs and concerns of the rest of the community of 6,000 people. They were notorious for laying down the law, regardless of what anyone else thought, and too often trampling over volunteers and the work of the committees. Needless to say, volunteerism suffered and no one wanted to help out on committees or work with them on the Board. They had effectively diminished any possibility of a challenge.

So, when it became my turn to experience first hand the effects of this kind of leadership, I made the decision that someone had to try to change things. Call me stubborn or strong-willed or whatever, but I have never been able to resist a challenge and have no problem throwing myself headlong in to something, no matter how daunting it may seem, if I feel strongly enough about it. Basically, these guys pissed me off and that was just the kind of encouragement I needed!

My first step was to resign from the committee, at which time my entire committee joined me in this bit of revolution. Then, I threw my name in to the ring at the next election, and got myself elected to the Board. What followed over the next two years was an amazing bit of luck and circumstance (or, for you Law of Attraction types, an awesome manifestation of my set intention). Anyway, I ended up becoming President by the end of my first three year term on the Board. I am halfway through my second year as President and am astounded at the sea change that has occurred. I am not trying here to take credit for all of the positive things that happened recently but I do feel like my decision to get involved in this way was the measurable beginning of a great turn of events for us in our community.

The Results May Surprise You

Today, my Board is proud to oversee a larger than ever group of enthusiastic volunteers who feel like they are able to make a difference in our little corner of the world. We have empowered the people to contribute to our leadership process and to follow through on their great ideas. This has had a measurable effect on the morale of the community, and has allowed us to get more accomplished than we otherwise would have been able to. And, we are starting to feel our influence expanding outside of our gates and are poised to accomplish even more in the years to come.

Dr. Robin’s remarks on the radio today were really geared toward people in their personal lives, within their homes and families, but her message struck a chord with me as it pertains to us real-estate-agent-citizens in towns and neighborhoods all over the country. How awesome would it be for each of us to make a commitment to find just one way to make the places we work in better? What kind of impact would it make if the 1 million NAR members in the US did this? Would our neighborhoods be better for it? Would our country be a better place to live in?

Be The Change.

Lisa sells residential real estate in the Pocono Mountains of Northeastern PA, and authors The Poconos Real Estate Blog. Being a strong believer in community participation, she currently serves as President of a 1700 home Property Owners' Association and Secretary of the Board of the local REALTOR Association for 2009. Her most challenging and fulfilling role, though, is that of Mom to two teenage girls, and her main hope for them is that they learn to appreciate the abundant joys of a life lived with a positive attitude. You can connect with Lisa on Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Jed Lane

    September 28, 2008 at 11:57 am

    I have been doing this for awhile but came at from the need to get out and network. I can’t stand the bar/corporate mixer thing so I decided to meet people while doing something. It has proven to be great joy I never experienced before.
    I believe that we, Realtors, have unique talents to do thbis kind of work and that it fits into our code of ethics. Most of us have good listening skills, we are able to discerne the underlying motivation and need and then propose the common ground that gets the deal done.
    We also have knowledge of marketing and conectivity tools that many others don’t and we know how to deploy them in a social networking situation.
    I, just this month, organized my neighbors to fight the city transit district placing a bus line on a street that never before had one. The stated reason for the change was to “save 2 minutes”. I held a meeting and 25 people showed up, sitting around the table were neighbors that all lived within 2 blocks of each other but had never met.
    I know that there is a desire to connect in community and many communities just need the connector.
    We are the connnectors and yes imagine if all of got over ouor fear of angering someone and took a stand for our neighbors how much we could accomplish.

  2. Bill Lublin

    September 28, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Lisa:
    Edmund Burke said “The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing” – guess we could add “or good women” Eldridge Cleaver said “If you aren’t part of the solution you’re part of the problem” Amazing that they’re separated by race, age, and centuries but they said basically the same thing that you said.
    Great Post

  3. Shannon Gilmore

    September 28, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Lisa,
    I too have a bad addiction to this positive network of people and possibilities ( Oprah & Friends) I love that you took Dr. Robin’s point and made it personal and meaningful. The greatest thing about her challenge as you mentioned:

    “So the challenge from Dr. Robin today was for all of us to take responsibility for holding ourselves to the standard we expect from our leaders. She used my favorite quote “You must be the change you wish to see in the world” to emphasize her point that, instead of sitting back and picking apart and criticizing the candidates…instead of watching and waiting and wondering how these people are going to make our lives better…we should be turning that energy inward”

    …. so the best part Is that we can do something, it doesn’t have to be something grand, or it could be, we just have to do something… it can be the littlest thing, like helping out a neighbor. Don’t we all wish our leaders had more of a connection to the average working guy or gal?

    You have reminded me that doing something is important and so I’m going to find a way ” to be the change” in some way, every day. Thanks for a positive and inspiring post.

  4. Missy Caulk

    September 28, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Lisa, we can change our worlds a little bit at a time, with neighbors, PTA’S, wherever we interact with people on a daily basis. Just think how blogging has changed the horizon in the last few years.
    Oh I like Oprah too, but rarely get to watch.

    Bill those are some of my favorite quotes….

  5. Matthew Rathbun

    September 28, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    I know that in leadership training we try to prepare people to adapt to situations and atmospheres to overcome obstacles and achieve the goal. I don’t think that we spend nearly enough time teaching that occasionally (as good as a leader as I may be in some situations) the leaders is simply not a good match and removing themselves and being a servant for awhile.

    Case in point: As a manager I was good at training, being a resource and preparing the agent. However, I was not good at all, when the agent wasn’t motivated or had personal problems to deal with. For that the Principal Broker was a better resource. As a team we were great. I learned how to move out of the way. I just wish that some industry leaders, who are clinging to the past techniques that aren’t working any longer, would do the same.

  6. Jeff Royce

    September 28, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Lisa…very nice post post. I think you hit the nail on the head with our criticism of politicians. We complain about negative campaigning a lot as a nation, but it seems that is exactly what we as individuals respond to. I was astounded and saddened by what I saw on Twitter during the debate the other night. People were calling both of the candidates liars, making up names for each that put them down, talking about how stupid the candidates are.

    The truth is that all four of the candidates for President and Vice President are much more qualified, knowledgeable, and accomplished than those of us in the peanut gallery. Let’s give the the respect they deserve, and like you said, look to see what we can personally do to make our communities and our country better. It’s okay to disagree with an idea a candidate has, but lets cut out the cheap shots at them. It only makes the person who fires the shot look idiotic.

  7. Paula Henry

    September 28, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Lisa – I whole heartedly agree! One step at a time with passion, determination and a positive attitude, much can be accomplished. One key for me is to avoid negativity and toxic people. I ususally try to inject something positive into the conversation or situation.

  8. Lisa Sanderson

    September 29, 2008 at 5:06 am

    Jed: Connectors, yes! You are absolutely right about the special talents we bring to the table and I love that descriptor!! Keep up the good works.

    Bill: I love those quotes too. And it is also amazing to me how the themes of life transcend eras.

    Shannon: I take that as a huge compliment! Thank you!!

    Missy: That’s why Oprah & her friends on the radio 24/7 is so awesome. Does anyone watch tv at that time of the day these days? And yes, our blogs are great tools for us to use in our community works. Like Jed said, we are ideally positioned to get the word out about so many things.

    Matthew: Excellent point. We need to be very self aware to ensure that we are using our time and skills to our and our community’s best advantage. None of us can be everything to everyone and it is important to know our strengths and weaknesses in order to be effective.

    Jeff: Exactly. What we say about others is a reflection more on ourselves than on those we discuss. There is a famous quote that says this much better than I do…anyone know who said it?

    Paula: A positive attitude is definately key in any situation. And the beauty of it is that it is extremely contagious!

  9. Sarah Cooper

    September 29, 2008 at 5:25 am

    Lisa, you are so inspiring!! I’m ready to go forth and change the world for the better! AG is brilliant, we know this, but it’s completely reinforced for me with their most recent additions to the team. What a fabulous start! And the quote you’re looking for, is it, “You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him.” (I have found this to be quite true!)

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Business Marketing

Use nostalgia as a marketing niche for your business today

(MARKETING) A market that is making waves is found in the form of entertainment nostalgia. Everyone has memories and attachments, why not speak to them?

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nostalgia

Is it just me or does it seem like there is something for everything nowadays? Let me clarify, as that is a rather broad question…

With the way communicating through technology has advanced, it’s become much easier to connect with those who have shared interests. This has become especially evident with interests in the entertainment community.

Entertainment nostalgia

It now seems like there is an event for every bit of nostalgia you can imagine. Autograph shows, meet and greets, and memorabilia collections of all kinds are held in convention halls all around the world. (To give you an idea of how deep this thing goes, there was a “Grease 2” reunion convention sometime within the last five years. Being that I’m the only person I’ve ever met who likes that movie, it’s amazing that it found an audience.)

This idea of marketing by use of nostalgia is something that is becoming smartly tapped and there are a variety of directions it can go in.

For example, the new Domino’s ads feature dead-on tributes to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

What’s your niche?

If you’re a fan of anything, it’s likely that you can find an event to suit your needs.

And, if you want to take it a step further, you can think outside the box and use nostalgia as a marketing tool.

I recently began dabbling in social media gigs that have brought me to a few different fan conventions. One was a throwback 80s and 90s convention that featured everyone from Alan Thicke to the members of N*SYNC. Another is a recurring convention that brings together fans of sci-fi, horror, and everything under that umbrella.

I was amazed by the number of people that came out to these events and the amount of money that was spent on the day’s activities (autographs, photo ops, etc.). I was energized by the fact that you can take something you have a great appreciation for and bring together others who share that feeling. Watching people meet some of their favorite celebrities is something that is priceless.

Hop onboard the nostalgia train

If you’re a fan of something, you don’t have to look too far to find what you’d enjoy – going back to the aforementioned “Ferris Bueller” example, there is a first-ever John Hughes fan event taking place in Chicago next month that will bring fans to their favorite Brat Pack members.

In the same thought, if you have an idea, now is the time to find others who share that interest and execute your vision.

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Business Marketing

5 tips to help you craft consistently high-converting email marketing

(MARKETING) Email may seem too old to be effective but surprisingly it’s not, so how can you get the most out of your email marketing? Try these tips.

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Email marketing

Email marketing might seem archaic in comparison to modern mediums like social media, blogging, and podcasting; however, it actually remains one of the highest converting options marketers and small businesses have at their disposal.

But Why Email?

Hopefully, you believe in email as an effective marketing channel, but in case you have doubts, let’s hit the reset button. Here’s why email marketing is worth investing in:

  • Email is one of the few marketing channels that you have total control over. Unlike a social media audience, which can disappear if the platform decides you violate their terms, you own your email list.
  • Email is considered very personal. When someone gives you access to their inbox, they’re telling you that you can send them messages.
  • From a pure analytics perspective, email gives you the ability to track behaviors, study what works, and get familiar with the techniques that don’t.
  • The ROI of email marketing is incredibly high. It can deliver as much as $44 in value for every $1 spent.

5 Tips for High-Converting Emails

If you’ve been using email, but haven’t gotten the results you’d like to, it’s probably because you’re using it ineffectively.

Here are a few very practical tips for high-converting emails that generate results:

  1. Write Better Subject Lines: Think about email marketing from the side of the recipient. (Considering that you probably receive hundreds of emails per week, this isn’t hard to do.) What’s going to make you engage with an email? It’s the subject line, right?If you’re going to focus a large portion of your time and energy on one element of email marketing, subject lines should be it.The best subject lines are the ones that convey a sense of urgency or curiosity, present an offer, personalize to the recipient, are relevant and timely, feature name recognition, or reference cool stories.
  2. Nail the Intro”: Never take for granted the fact that someone will open your email, and read to the second paragraph. Some will – but most will scan the first couple of lines, and then make a decision on how to proceed.It’s critically important that you get the intro right. You have maybe five seconds to hook people in, and get them excited. This is not a time to slowly build up. Give your best stuff away first!
  3. Use Video: Email might be personal, but individual emails aren’t necessarily viewed as special. That’s because people get so many of them on a daily basis.According to Blue Water Marketing, “The average person receives more than 84 emails each day! So how do you separate your emails from everyone else? Embed videos in your emails can increase your conversion rates by over 21 percent!”This speaks to a larger trend of making emails visually stimulating. The more you use compelling visuals, the more engaging and memorable the content will be.
  4. Keep Eyes Moving: The goal is to keep people engaging with your email content throughout. While it’ll inevitably happen with a certain percentage of recipients, you want to prevent people from dropping off as they read.One of the best ways to keep sustained engagement is to keep eyes effortlessly moving down the page with short and succinct copy.One-liners, small paragraphs, and lots of spacing signal a degree of approachability and simplicity. Use this style as much as you can.
  5. Don’t Ask Too Much: It can be difficult to convey everything you want to say in a single email, but it’s important that you stay as focused as possible – particularly when it comes to CTAs and requests.Always stick to one CTA per email. Never ask multiple questions or present different offers. (It’ll just overwhelm and confuse.) You can present the same CTA in multiple places – like at the beginning, middle, and end of the email – but it needs to be the same call. That’s how you keep people focused and on-task.

Give Your Email Marketing Strategy a Makeover

Most businesses have some sort of email lists. Few businesses leverage these lists as well as they should. Hopefully, this article has provided you with some practical and actionable tips that can be used to boost engagement and produce more conversions. Give them a try and see what sticks.

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Business Marketing

Here’s how one employer was able beat an age discrimination lawsuit

(MARKETING) Age discrimination is a rare occurrence but still something to be battled. It’s good practice to keep your house in order to be on the right side.

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Jewel age discrimination

In January, the EEOC released its annual accounting for reports of discrimination in the previous year. Allegations of retaliation were the most frequently filed charge, which disability coming in second. Age discrimination cases accounted for 21.4% of filed charges. As we’ve reported before, not all age discrimination complaints rise to the level of illegal discrimination. In Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., the federal court dismissed the claims of age discrimination, even though seven (7) plaintiffs made similar claims against the grocery store.

What Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores was about

In Cesario, all but one of the seven plaintiffs had spent years with Jewel Food building their careers. When Jewel went through some financial troubles, the plaintiffs allege that they began to “experience significant pressure at work… (and) were eventually forced out or terminated because of their age or disability.” Jewel Food requested summary judgment to dismiss the claims.

The seven plaintiffs made the same type of complaints. Beginning in 2014, store directors were under pressure to improve metrics and customer satisfaction. Cesario alleges that the Jewel district manager asked about his age. Another director alleges that younger store directors were transferred to stores with less difficulties. One plaintiff alleged that Jewel Food managers asked him about his retirement. The EEOC complaints began in late 2015. The plaintiffs retired or were fired and subsequently filed a lawsuit against their company.

Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA). The ADEA prevents disparate treatment based on age for workers over 40 years old. However, plaintiffs who allege disparate treatment must establish that the adverse reactions wouldn’t have occurred but for age. Because none of the plaintiffs could specifically point to age as the only determination of their case, the court dismissed the case.

A word to wise businesses

Jewel Food was able to demonstrate their own actions in the case through careful documentation. Although there was no evidence that age played a factor in any discharge decision, Jewel Food could document their personnel decisions across the board. The plaintiffs also didn’t exhaust all administrative remedies. This led to the case being dropped.

Lesson learned – Make perssonel decisions based on performance and evidence. Don’t use age as a factor. Keep documentation to support your decisions.

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