Sunday, July 8, 2012

Believing in the Dream

A few years ago, while I was ill, a friend gave me this book on tape. I listened to it over and over while lying in bed, mostly hopeless. As I listened, it brought a clarity and a reason to the pain and suffering I was going through. It helped me keep my dream alive through it all.

It changed my whole view of my dreams and the role of getting clear about purpose of the dream and what it takes to make them happen.

For many years I dreamed and thought they impossible. They were pipe dreams, ya know, that little girl dreaming beyond reality. We all have dreams, and we all either decide to pursue them or let them die. 

The book presents a few simple concepts:

Our dreams are God's dreams. He has placed them within us. He would not give us a dream that is impossible. It is up to us to figure it out with His help.

We have all the gifts and skills to make our dreams happen. God has built these gift in as he created the dream within our hearts. God wants us to expand our skills, so other people will expand theirs. God wants us to believe in our dreams deeply, so others may come along side to help make them happen. It is up to us to build alliances that have common dreams and  create solutions together.

Getting quiet with God is absolutely necessary! When we come into "sanctuary" with God, we are able to decipher "His Plan!" When we begin to understand how to do it and with whom.

Overcoming our Personal fears is a ongoing process! Our willingness to come to our knees and be truthful with ourselves will happen the whole way through the realization of a dream. Count on it. 

Social Issues will present them selves! Generally speaking there are social issues that stand in front of our dream. Woman can't do that! Those people are not worth it! Fears and predjudice will reveal it's horrible head. It is our faith and dreams that will overcome them. 

The closer we are to realizing our dreams the harder the challenges will be. As the dream comes into reality the stakes get higher and higher. The obstacles seem bigger, yet in reality they are not. It is the final push that always seems the hardest, yer it is also when the most fear is present, right at the edge of success. Right of the edge of joy!

So today, I am committed to my dream! I pray you commit to yours!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sustaining Employee Engagement With Strategic Storytelling

Bill Baker

To fully leverage the potential of the sustainable brand, organizational leaders must find ways to fully engage and infuse their workforce with enthusiasm around the noble and essential higher purpose that not only drives the brand, but also defines it. The most effective way to do this is through strategic storytelling.
Storytelling can focus, align and inspire the human energy needed to realize the sustainability positioning of your brand and the larger vision for the organization connected to that positioning. When used strategically, stories can infuse your plan with meaning, making the ideas and principles driving your efforts real for your employees.
Though typically made through brand communications, the promises of sustainability are brought to life through the thousands of actions and decisions made daily by managers and employees. To properly guide those actions and decisions, organizations must first make certain their brand is truly sustainable. Sustainability—and the “future generation” higher purpose associated with it—must actually be part of the brand’s core story, not just an operational tangent to it.
Assuming sustainability is an integral thread of your organization’s brand story, you can set about using strategic storytelling to engage employees in that story and, importantly, sustain their engagement around it long into the future. What follows are three guidelines on how to do just that.
1. Present the sustainable brand positioning to employees in the memorable language of stories. As noble as the words  “optimize”, “ integrity” and “innovation” sound on a plaque or in an annual report, when used to communicate your brand positioning to employees, they’re neither distinguishing, nor provocative or memorable. And if employees don’t recall the language of your strategic planning efforts, chances are they are not talking about it or acting on its objectives, either. GE uses stories extensively to bring its Ecomagination story to life, making real for employees, customers and the broader marketplace the higher purpose driving their efforts and the positive impacts resulting from them.
2. Give your employees the means to share stories about your sustainable brand. Employee stories keep your brand positioning current and tangible by reinforcing how it’s coming to life every day—in the field, at corporate headquarters and everywhere in between. What’s more, as more employees share their stories, they take on greater philosophical ownership of the sustainable brand positioning those stories exemplify. For example, the GE Reports website contains a rich collection of stories of “imagination at work” identified and put forward by GE employees around the globe. This creates a greater sense of connection between employees and the larger sustainability story GE is telling the world.
3. Fan the flames of employee engagement and enthusiasm by becoming your organization’s “Storyteller-in-Chief.” When corporate leaders ask for new ways of thinking, talking and acting, employees will always look up the ladder to see if you are practicing what you preach. One of the best ways executives and managers of a company can “walk the sustainability talk” is by regularly sharing stories that demonstrate and exemplify the company’s sustainability efforts coming to life.
So, as you embark on the next wave of strategic planning around sustainability, consider using storytelling to more effectively connect what you’re trying to achieve with the employees you need to achieve it. More than anything, it can help bring about meaningful change for your brand, your business and the larger world in which you do business. And that’s something worth sustaining.

Bill Baker is founder and principal of BB&Co Strategic Storytelling. BB&Co has helped business leaders of organizations such as Relais & Châteaux, Johnson & Johnson and GE, as well as the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, the University of British Columbia and others advance their brands, businesses and people through strategic storytelling. For more information about BB&Co, visit, or email

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Productive & Respectful Networking: Oh Right it's all about Conversations!

As far as playing jazz, no other art form, other than conversation, can give the satisfaction of spontaneous interaction.  - Stan Getz

I love this quote! It reveals such a delightful morsel to me. It helps me see the beauty of not having an agenda and allowing a conversation to go where it goes.

As I consider how important my time is these days,
I realize every relationship I decide to choose to create has infinite potential. What I open up to share and what I foster to be shared are the moments of  j a z z. Those sweet lyrical exchanges that connect and flow. 

So often I find myself selling, to begin with in a relationship, instead of exploring, revealing, creating and experiencing. I believe the quote asks us to look at the idea of being willing to allow the spontaneity of an exchange to create a beautiful connection, instead of some imagined agenda to be followed.

In the charming illustration, we see the intersections of ideas and thoughts expressed so beautifully, that ideas intermingle and create surprises that unfold. As I personally consider the kinds of networking experiences that bring me inspiration, they are the ones that allow meaningful dialogue. 

 Recently a colleague challenging me to the idea, that I already knew right this moment, every person, I needed to grow my work and gain greater success. She asked me to look at respecting and honoring my past investments of time and reputation. Had I followed up? Had I let an opportunity pass? Why was I looking for new, when I had not deepened the ones I currently have.

It got me really thinking. As I explored this idea, it helped me see that when I am fostering current relationships with the flow of jazz, the exact right new player will come in effortlessly, with surprise and spontaneity, those magical connections...that just reveal themselves. 

So today I shall be a jazz player and allow myself to flow and to explore...with confidence and ease. 

Join us July 13th to converse about networking and creating the right strategies for YOU!