The People
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Outlook on 2007

[update: Yvonne can't type. I just found out I had Zane's name, Safrit, spelled wrong here. Nothing else has been changed - not to protect the innocent or anything else, except his name!]

Just before the end of 2006 I got a brainstorm of an idea. I was wondering how I was ever going to keep up my blogging - and still be able to bring my readers valuable content. Dedicated readers will know that I used to blog every day! And, I could still do that - there is plenty of good stuff to write.

But, my schedule is not as open as it used to be. I have been so fortunate this year to have built my publishing business up (we have more titles than I can count now, since I use my fingers to do that), AND increased our blogging business, also. Our new blog clients are super - and if you don't believe me, well...visit this link and this link and this link and tell me I'm wrong. And, watch for more blog announcements.

Now, back to Outlook on 2007, which was and is my brainstorm idea. I knew I would need some way to continue engaging my readers, and still free up time for my clients. So, I decided to ask some of my blogging friends for help. Precisely, I wrote to a number of bloggers and asked them these two questions:

    • What happened to your company in 2006 that surprised you?
    • What are you planning to do differently in 2007?

I got some surprising answers. Once or twice a week I will share them with you. Today, we will hear from Zane Safrit  of Conference Calls Unlimited. Zane was also a Typepad featured blog recently. His answers to my questions really hit home. Here's what he had to say:

Yvonne: What happened at your company, in 2006, that surprised you?

Zane: (Laughing….) Every day’s a surprise.

The biggest surprise for me this year is fear. It’s depth, it’s pernicious influence. It’s such a surprise to me how deeply ingrained it is in everyone, myself included. And how it manages to hold everything back. Zane

Fear of failure, fear of being wrong, fear of losing control, fear of each other.

We have a great crew of people here at the company. All are friends, my friends, each other’s friends. I’ve had them all over to my house at different times. Completely trust them.

But…at the same time, we’ve all had the same thinking and behaviors enforced on us: stay in our box, do our job and only our job, change is a threat, protect your territory, test the proverbial winds, don’t go out on a limb, don’t offer an opinion…

And while we have a very open office in many ways, this fear of being different, of being wrong, of saying the wrong thing, of possibly not trusting that other department even when it’s our friends in that department…is so ingrained.

When it’s time to converse about work…we all fall back into those patterns of caution, control, borderline distrust, cards-to-the vest. Funny. Not in a haha way. Funny in an amusingly aggravating way.

At this time, with wikis and coaching and lots and lots of talking and encouragement and honesty among all of us and  going to great lengths myself to lead by example, we’re moving out of that. It’s what we all wanted, ironically. But we didn’t know how to get there. And we’re learning as we go, with a few stumbles and surprises. We’re finding that the water’s fine, though we’re only wading at this point.

And we all know it’s imperative we all embrace openness and transparency in finding new solutions for the company. Those solutions are only coming from us…so, better belly up to the bar and drink from the trough, our trough so to speak, and find better ways, more ways, simpler ways. That means being real honest, real open, real respectful.

We’re getting it. Holding each other, helping each other, pushing each other, holding each other accountable.

Yvonne: What are you planning to do differently in 2007?

Zane: I’ll probably be out more. Out talking with potential partners more, more events, doing more with podcasts and videocasts, finding more products to help our customers connect with each other.

Comments

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Chris Owen

Zane so admirably demonstrates that the BEST way to address fear is to be acutely honest, well past our comfort zones and RIGHT into dangerous vulnerability!
Great insights Zane and thanks Yvonne for putting them out there for us.

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