Once again we have a great role model on the TalentGrow Show for how you can build an excellent leadership career in two parallel tracks. Hassan Osman is not just a successful leader of teams in a large corporation, he’s also a successful author and blogger who is building a brand and adding value to a growing tribe of followers in his free time, all while having a family and a life. We discuss why (and how) he does it as well as dig into some of his areas of expertise covered in his two Amazon best-selling books. Hassan shares specific and actionable tips about leading virtual teams and improving the effectiveness of your emails, and a great final tip for ratcheting up your leadership and career success through a simple daily practice.
Things you’ll learn:
- Is it worth it to do graduate studies? Is it actually applicable to your job? Hassan has two prestigious Masters degrees and has some thoughts to share (6:35)
- What is tacit knowledge and why it’s helpful in his job (7:16)
- Hassan shares one of the 17 tactics in his Amazon best seller book, Influencing Virtual Teams (9:14)
- What’s a management lesson we can all learn from a remarkable Danish company that has more than 50% of its workforce comprised by autistic employees (that we can apply to managing virtual teams) (10:01)
- What’s the best way to communicate in virtual teams? (12:25)
- How can you know what someone is REALLY thinking? Hassan shares a simple 2-step process (14:10)
- What are the four questions you could ask your team member to get a clearer understanding of their perspective or motivation and create an opening to a feedback conversation? (15:25)
- Why is email very bad for a lot of your communication needs on virtual teams – and what do about it (17:33)
- What are some kinds of communication that really should not be done via email (with a quick story about Halelly’s client who did not follow this advice) (18:25)
- What are two practical ‘how-to’ tips from Hassan’s book Don’t Reply All to improve your emails right away (with great examples) (19:18)
- What are the 3Ws that every email must include, no excuses, if it includes any kind of task assignment? (plus Hassan provides examples!) (20:10)
- What is a snazzy acronym response that people have started using when they don’t feel like reading an email (and how to avoid triggering it) (22:13)
- Why and how has Hassan developed his own brand, body of knowledge, and audience WHILE also doing a highly responsible leadership job? (25:14)
- What are the benefits for treating your career as its own brand and building an additional skillset ‘on the side’ to help you succeed in your career? (25:45)
- What is Hassan’s actionable advice that you can take your leadership and career to the next level? (29:14)
- Hassan's personal site and blog: Thecouchmanager.com
- Connect with Hassan Osman on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or by email - hassan AT thecouchmanager.com
- Hassan’s books: Influencing Virtual Teams and Don’t Reply All
- Check out this recorded video from the webinar Hassan mentioned– how to write a book while rocking your day job (Note: it will be available for a limited time only)
- Episode 4: How to Balance Being a Successful Leader in Your Day Job While Rocking All Your Other Passions, Too! Learn the secrets of exemplary leadership from Larry Gioia #ABCD
- Hassan tells a story about Specialisterne, a company that hires high-functioning autistic employees and prepares them for employment in the IT and technology sector, and their founder, Thorkil Sonne.
- Michaelangelo quote: “ANACORA IMPARO”(Meaning: "I am still learning." Or “and yet I learn”)
- Book that both Hassan and Halelly loved: The Start-up of You
- Halelly mentions The Artist’s Way for morning pages and building a daily writing habit
- 750words.com – a site for building a daily writing habit
- Download the 10 Mistakes Leaders Make and How to Avoid Them free tool!
- Intro/outro music for The TalentGrow Show: "Why-Y" by Esta - a great band of exquisitely talented musicians, and good friends of mine.
About Hassan Osman
- PMO Manager at Cisco*
- Carnegie Mellon & Harvard University graduate
- Part-Time Webpreneur
- Certified PMP, CSM and ITIL v3
- Wrote two Amazon bestselling books
- Teaches an online course about virtual teams.
- Was a management consultant at Ernst & Young
- Visual thinker
- Interested in virtual teams and project management
- Obsessed with life hacks and productivity
- Lives in Boston with his wife & 2 daughters
- Loves meeting new people
- Works from his home office
Announcer: Welcome to the TalentGrow Show, where you can get actionable results-oriented insight and advice on how to take your leadership, communication and people skills to the next level and become the kind of leader people want to follow. And now, your host and leadership development strategist, Halelly Azulay.
Halelly: Hey, welcome back. This is the TalentGrow Show and I’m Halelly Azulay, your leadership development strategist with a cool episode for you, episode 29, how to lead virtual teams, write better emails and grow your career by being a great corporate leader while writing books and blogs on the side with Hassan Osman. Is that too long of a title? Well, it was hard to fit everything in because Hassan is a unique individual. One of my most, actually the most popular episode ever so far on the TalentGrow Show, was an episode with one of these kinds of rock star leaders, Larry Gioia back in episode four. And this is a guy who Larry actually introduced me to who does a very similar thing. He rocks his day job. He is a leader in a global corporation. He’s successful, he has been promoted numerous times. He leads global virtual teams at Cisco. And on the side, Hassan writes books, does webinars, talks on podcasts, writes a blog, all of this while also having a life, having a family. So, he’s a great guy to learn from and I think that he’s a great role model for everyone. We talk about leadership, his career in these parallel tracks, why he’s doing that, why you should maybe think about doing the same thing, and also about the two Amazon bestseller books that he’s written. They’re very short and useful books. One is about leading virtual teams, and one is about writing better emails. So he shares some of the hot tips from those books, in a very, very actionable way. And then of course we don’t wrap up without Hassan sharing one final tip that you could use to ratchet up your leadership and career success, in a very simple but profound daily practice. So I hope that you’ll check out this episode so you can learn more about lots and lots of things that you can use in your current job, but also be thinking about your career path and how to move it to an even cooler place. So, here we go, episode 29 with Hassan Osman.
Welcome back. I’m here with Hassan Osman, and Hassan, welcome to the TalentGrow Show.
Hassan: Hey Halelly, thank you so much for having me.
Halelly: It’s my pleasure and thank you for visiting with us and sharing your journey and your knowledge. Speaking of journeys, I always ask my guests so briefly describe their professional journey before we even get started. So that’s always a little bit of a challenge to do it briefly, but I know that you can do it! So tell us, where did you come from and how did you get to here?
Hassan: Yeah, absolutely. So I am currently a senior manager at Cisco Systems, where I lead a very large team of global virtual employees around the world on delivering customer projects. And just as a customer sort of caveat there, one thing I want to mention is that my attorneys require that I say that all my opinions are mine and not those of Cisco.
Halelly: We’ll try to get one of those fast-talking radio commercial attorneys to come on and say that for you, how’s that?
Hassan: There you go! And so that’s sort of my full-time job in leading very large and complex projects and teams spread across the world. And then in my sort of spare time, or downtime, I’m actually a blogger. I blog about the same space that I write about, in terms of virtual teams, project management and productivity. I also publish a couple of books in this space, and I do teach a few courses online as well. So, hopefully that answers a little bit briefly for you, but that’s me in a nutshell.
Halelly: That’s very cool, and I do want to think about and help people see how you got here. So this is where you are today, but tell us a little bit about the professional journey that you followed? Like what did you study in college and what kinds of jobs have led you to this place?
Hassan: So if I wanted to go back a little bit, I have a degree in civil engineering, which has nothing to do with my current job. And then I sort of started getting into the whole IT space in my grad school years, went to Carnegie Melon and I believe, I guess on your show, Larry Gioia was actually one of my colleagues back then. That’s how we met and that’s how I believe you and I got together, through his introduction.
Halelly: As Larry says, ABCD – always be connecting the dots!
Hassan: There you go, great shout out for my friend! And through that, I actually studied information security policy and management and learned how to protect companies from hackers, basically. So in the whole IT space, focusing specifically about what companies can do to protect themselves from external threats. And then post that, I started doing consulting at Ernst and Young, for around six years there. Also helping a lot of companies in that space as well as into pure management consulting, kind of looking at projects and why they fail and why do you have certain areas where people are not as effective as they should be? Parts of it had to do with virtual teams and the team dynamics and others have to do with project management. And then I did another Master’s degree at Harvard, focused on pure management or general management, part of their division of continuing education. And the moved into Cisco. I was actually part of Cisco when I did that part-time, and at Cisco Systems I actually started out as a senior program manager, focusing on very large projects and now I’m in a PMO manager role – for those who don’t know what PMO stands for, it’s project management office. So in addition to my role as a customer facing project manager, I also have around 20-plus project managers that report directly to me in the organization.
Halelly: Wow. That’s amazing, and two Master’s degrees and from reputable and very highly sought after programs, so good for you! Did you find that they actually helped you? I always am curious about that, like this whole … do we get what we need from universities nowadays? I know we’re not going to talk about that a lot today, but I’m just curious about your perspective?
Hassan: Yeah, that’s a great question. I mean, I think I would say 40 percent of what I actually learned is applicable to what I do. A lot of the stuff, obviously, doesn’t. When you take like a general management degree and if you’re not focused in a marketing type role at your company, you’re not going to use a lot of that accounting or sales and marketing type courses that you took while in grad school. So, there are certain aspects of it that are highly applicable, but one quick note before we get into the meat of the podcast is I believe in something called tacit knowledge. And that is knowledge that you pick up from things that are unrelated to the actual content that you learned. It’s just the dynamics of working with people, the interactions you have when you’re working on cases, for example, case studies, and so on and so forth. Those things are skills you actually pick up and can apply anywhere in the future.
Halelly: Yeah, and so I totally agree. Do you mean that the tacit knowledge you picked up while in those programs is where there was value or the tacit knowledge that you picked up during your work?
Hassan: During the program. So what I’m saying is that while I was doing, or pursuing my graduate degrees, those types of tacit knowledge nuggets, if you will, is something that I took into my job and learned a lot from.
Halelly: Got it. Okay, thank you. And thanks for entertaining that with me, because I’m concerned about how people get to where they need to go and they are, I know many people are considering, “Do I need to go back to grad school? Is this going to add value? Is this a worthwhile way to spend my time?” Or are there other ways? And I think that something that everybody will find interesting when we get into it is how you’ve decided to continue developing yourself and your personal brand, because I think that what you’re doing is really remarkable. It should be actually commonplace but it isn’t. So I love for people to learn more from you. So one of the things that you were doing, as you said, is that you’re writing books and blogging on the side in addition to doing your day job, which you’re clearly rocking because you keep getting promoted and you’re leading a lot of people in a Fortune 100 company, or Fortune 500. What’s Cisco?
Hassan: I think it’s Fortune 100 now.
Halelly: Okay good. Congrats. So you have a couple of books I wanted to talk a little about what you wrote in there and share some nuggets with folks. One of them is – and by the way, they’re both Amazon bestsellers so congrats on that – and so one of them is called Influencing Virtual Teams, and I was really happy to ready a copy. Because it’s a short book, it’s not very difficult to read, but it isn’t fluff. It’s completely actionable. So you share 17 great tactics for how to actually be successful in virtual teams and you break them down into stories and relevant examples and action steps. So, I wish I could cover all 17, but there was one particular story that you shared about this Danish company that employees autistic employees, and you were making a connection between something that they do in order to successfully employ autistic employees, and something that you suggest virtual teams take on. So would you share that story and the lesson from it with the listeners?
Hassan: Yeah, absolutely. So, the name of the gentleman who runs this Danish company – and by the way, the company is called Specialisterne and I’m using a Danish accent there. I probably butchered it!
Halelly: Good for you. I wouldn’t know!
Hassan: The company actually means “the specialists” in Danish, and the name of the gentleman is Thorkil Sonne, I think that’s how his name is pronounced. Anyway, he’s the father of an autistic child and he actually started the company because he wanted to make sure that his son would be taken care of in the future, that he actually has something to rely on. The company is very well known around the world because it actually makes millions of dollars in revenue, yet employs I think more than 50 percent of its workforce of folks who are autistic. So basically for those who don’t know, autism is a spectrum disorder that is typically characterized by social deficits, communication difficulties and in some cases even cognitive delays. So it’s hard for autistic people to be able to do the normal day-to-day functions that a person who is not diagnosed with autism does. And so it’s very remarkable that he was able to build a successful company based on that. And in one of the interviews, I was reading an article by the Harvard Business Review, and they were doing an interview with him and asked him a very simple question. They said, “How does managing autistic workers differ from managing other people?” And his answer was, “Our consultants with autism have trouble understanding social cues such as gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice, and you have to be very precise and direct with them and be very specific about your expectations and avoid things like sarcasm or nonverbal communication.”
And that answer really stood out to me, because when I kind of give lectures about how to manage virtual teams, I couldn’t have put it any better. Those words are exactly how we would want to make sure you deal with a virtual team member, effectively, because you don’t have that body language and you can’t pick up sometimes on sarcasm if you’re dealing with global virtual teams. And so in the book I actually just replaced his answer with virtual teams and I’d say the single best way to deal with virtual teams or communicate with them is by looking at the fact that virtual teams have trouble understanding social cues, such as gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice, and you have to be very precise and direct with them, be very specific about your expectations and avoid sarcasm and nonverbal communication. So it really just kind of sums up in a very solid way that virtual teams need to be dealt with in a specific way there.
Halelly: Yeah, and people are increasingly challenged with dealing with virtual teams. I know a lot of my clients are just asking for more and more of my workshops and presentations about working on virtual teams and leading virtual teams. So I was really glad that we had this interest in common, and I thought that your book really adds tons of value because it really breaks it down and it comes from your experience of leading a virtual, global team. So one of the other kind of ways that we are challenged on virtual teams is figuring out how to get through to people. How to motivate people. And finding out when people are struggling. Because it’s that whole out of sight, out of mind. Just doing one of these workshops yesterday and somebody was saying that’s one of her challenges. Out of sight, out of mind. And for a leader of a virtual team, that is a challenge because you don’t know if people are struggling. You don’t know if people are unhappy. It’s much harder to be on top of things and leading people is hard enough as it is. But when you sort of have blinders on, it makes it even harder. So what’s your tip for that, for overcoming that barrier?
Hassan: It’s sort of a multifaceted kind of answer, and if I were just to pick one angle of it, that I also kind of touch upon in the book, that is how to know what someone is really thinking. When you have people kind of working in a silo, you really want to actually get to the true understanding of their motivation, what would they feel specifically about a task or a project. And there’s really a quick, simple process. It’s really just two steps to really know what someone is really thinking. And step one is to isolate them and step two is to ask them one of four questions. Starting with step one, which is to isolate them, and really if you think about it the best way to make someone comfortable about speaking freely is to isolate them from the rest of the team. So what I see a lot of managers do, in an open forum with 10 people on the call, they kind of ask someone questions like, “What do you really think about this?” And what happens is that person’s answer is usually skewed by the dynamics of that team. They’re a little bit more reserved, they want to sugarcoat things, they might not truly say what they actually feel. So, one very simple tip is just to isolate them on a one-on-one call. In a virtual setting, obviously you set up a one-on-one meeting or just pick up the phone and call them, so that you kind of reduce that additional parameter from affecting their own answer. And then the second step is to ask them one of four questions. And here are those questions that are high level, and you can choose one of them depending on the situation.
Halelly: So you ask one of these four questions, not all four questions?
Hassan: Correct. Ask them one of four. I should have clarified. So the first question is, “What would it take for you to love this task or project?” Depending on what you’re asking about. The second is, “How do you think I can make this better?” The third is, “What would it take for you to be really excited about this?” And then the fourth is, “What would you do differently?” And those are very powerful questions and there’s a lot of psychological underlying reasons why they work. But here are a couple of reasons why each one of them actually has a tremendous value of getting really what you want out of your team members. The first thing is that they actually assume that the person accepts the task and therefore makes them more comfortable about criticizing it. So when you say, “What would it take for you to love this task?” You’re not assuming that they hate it, which sometimes people could react negatively to. You’re just saying, “I believe you’re okay with it, but what would it take to take it to the next level?” So that actually helps put them at ease. The second reason is that it reveals an acknowledgement that nothing is perfect. And so when you say, “What would you do differently? Or how can I make this, how do you think I can make this better?” You’re just saying that it’s easy for you to criticize or say your real thoughts because I know this isn’t perfect. And there’s always something better that we can do. So when you just isolate them and ask them either one of those four questions, you’re going to get a very close to the truth answer as you can, just because of the psychology of it.
Halelly: So in a way, you’re showing vulnerability and kind of an acknowledgement of your perfection, which reduces the threat of criticizing and encourages them to be more open.
Hassan: Absolutely. And that’s exactly the reason why it works.
Halelly: Good. I like that and I think that’s super actionable. So the other thing that virtual teams struggle with is that a lot of times, people rely a lot on email. And frankly, I think that people – even when they’re co-located, like they’re down the same hallway from someone – they’ll go to email instead of going and talking to them in person. So even if we can see people eye-to-eye, most people now choose email communication for so much of their messaging, whereas email, as we know, is really well-designed for certain types of communication, but very, very ill conceived for a lot of other kinds of communication. So it was cool to see that you chose to expand on this issue in your other book called Don’t Reply All. And you have 18 tactics there for how to write better emails and improve communication, and I know – just a quick story – is one time a client called me in to start doing a team rebuilding because two of her team members have stopped talking to each other. And when I dug in to see a little bit more, they’re not talking to each other. They have to work together, they have to produce results for clients, but they won’t speak. And it all started from an email. I hear about this time and time again, how much trouble is caused by people using email for something that they shouldn’t in the first place, or using email incorrectly. So, we could talk about this for three days, especially since you wrote the book on it. But from all of the things that you know about this and I bet from speaking to people about this issue, what do you find are the two or three most salient or most relevant or best tips you can share right now?
Hassan: Sure, so before I get into that, just a quick high-level overview. The problem is – and I’m sure most people and your listeners on the show probably can relate to this – is that we are overloaded with email. I get over 400 every single day, and you know, the quantity is one issue. But the reason why I wrote the book is because of the quality. So it’s not so much that I get a lot of email, it’s because I get a lot of really bad email. And I’m sure based on your clients and customers that work with you, you’ve seen that a lot as well, that example being one of them. It’s the bad quality that I kind of focus on addressing in the book. And so the high-level kind of two or three level tips that I would say, based on hundreds and hundreds of emails that I’ve seen and why communication breaks down, is to be as concise and as prescriptive as you can. So, one of those tips – and that’s really the leading kind of tip in the book – is if you are going to be writing an email that has any sort of tasks associated with it, meaning you’re sending an email because you want someone to do something, then you have to include what is called the three Ws. And the three Ws stand for the who, the what and the when. And if you have a task in an email, then every single task should have all those three with no excuses.
Let me get quickly into what each one of those means. The who is actually the name of a specific person and not a group. So for example, instead of saying “all” or “team,” here’s what I need you to do, you need to be very prescriptive about who needs to do what. Whether it’s Halelly or Larry or whoever, you kind of need to spell those out in the email. The second is the what. And what I mean by that is a very explicit description that has no assumptions about what you need to have done. The third W is the when, and that is the exact date and time that you need something done by. So very clear deadline on when you want something accomplished. And let me give you an example of a task that has all three. So, one example would be, “Sam, please send me the updated status reports by Monday, November 23, at 3 p.m., U.S. Eastern Time.” So in this case you have a clear who – its Sam – a clear what – send me the updated status report – and then a very clear when – Monday, Nov. 23, 3 p.m., U.S. Eastern Time. What happens usually as a bad example of that is sending it to like five people and say, “Hey, can you send me whatever, in the next few days.” So the “when” there is very ambiguous and what does a few days mean? And so you’re going to get a lack of response or no response, or a very miscommunicated response after that. So that’s, I kind of lead in my book with that sort of tip.
Another quick one that just helps out a lot is if you need to write long emails, then break them into two parts. So, what happens is, no one has time to read emails anymore. They just scan them. And if you are going to be – and in some cases you have to write a long email to explain what happened with a client or give some background information and that’s okay – but just be cognizant to the amount of time that it takes for someone to digest it and read it, and there’s this snazzy acronym response now, which I’m sure you’ve heard, is TLDR, which stands for Too Long, Didn’t Read. And people just respond back now to emails where it was just way too long and they don’t want to get into it. So to address that, just kind of break down your email into two parts. Part one should be a quick summary that is five sentences or less that kind of gives the gist of what the email is about. If you have any actions, just list them in bullet points there and say exactly what you want, and then part two is the details that kind of elaborate on the summary. So, part one would be just like a quick executive level overview, like a summary or an abstract of a paper, and then the details has all supporting information. And that just helps a lot of people kind of get through your emails and respond back to you.
Halelly: Good. And then I would say, bottom-line, I would add in, don’t try to use email to communicate about anything that is not really clear cut, assignments, or requests for information or something that’s related to an action item, like my client, who was trying to communicate about her feelings about the relationship. Whenever it’s one of those things, no. Pick up the phone or better just talk to them in person or put a video on so that you can see all of the other nonverbal cues which I’m sure we could talk about for hours and hours, if we had more time. Which we don’t. So I can sense the cock ticking down on us and before we get to your specific action, which we always wrap up with, a couple of quick things I wanted to cover with you. One is – I said this at the beginning of our conversation and I really want to make sure we get to it very briefly – because the way you’re approaching your career is I think something that lots of other people can learn from. So I’d love to hear a little bit about how is it that you’ve decided to do this? To sort of run, you’re developing your own brand and your own voice and your own audience and a body of knowledge and you’re doing it on the side of really applying yourself in your job and having a high-level job with a lot of responsibility and clearly being successful. So it’s not like you’re just sort of doing a ‘seat-warmer’ job just to get the money and while you really care about this other stuff. You’re doing both. You’re like in both lanes, swimming hard. So, I’d love to hear a little bit about how did you decide to do this, and what is maybe one lesson you can share about what you’ve learned about this approach that other people can learn from and maybe apply in their career?
Hassan: Yeah, abosulteyl. So to answer your first question about why, I usually give two reasons. The first is the phrase by Michelangelo which is “anacora imparo”, and that means “Yet I still learn” in Italian, and that’s sort of his philosophy throughout his life and he actually said that quote in his late 80s or something, that even with all he had accomplished, he always wanted to learn or is learning as he goes along. So that’s just the love of learning and adding to your skillset is something I actually find a lot of pleasure in. And then the second reason – and I’d like to mention a book by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha called The Startup of You.
Halelly: Yes, I love that book!
Hassan: Highly, highly recommend it for those of you who have not picked up a copy. And the basic premise of the book is that you should treat your own brand as a startup that is independent of the company you work for. And the reason why is – they give a lot of reasons – but the basic sort of reason is fear. And that is that no one is safe today with their corporate job. I mean, there could be, even if you’re a top A-plus type performer, there is always going to be the risk that your department or your business is just not making enough money and that the entire team is going to go away. And so long gone are the days where you can just stick around for 30, 40 years at a company and you have a guaranteed spot with a pension plan, right? So just the fact that you might lose your job at any point in time is another big driver for me where I always need to add to my own skillset. I love to just learn how things work from an entrepreneurial perspective, whether it’s writing books or courses or a blog just to kind of share information with everyone else. And going back to the concept of tasks of knowledge, there’s just an enormous amount of time – and I’m sure you know this, Halelly, as well, given that you run a business and do all this phenomenal stuff on the side as well – that you just pick up so many skills from public relations to networking with other likeminded people to learning a little bit more about marketing and how you write so that you grasp the attention of whoever is reading. And so by building that additional skillset, you can learn so much more where if you, God forbid, have to lose your job or move onto something which is more exciting for you, you’re way more prepared than someone who is starting from scratch.
Halelly: Amen! And I will link to the book in the show notes, along with everything else we’ve discussed. And other things you will be mentioning. Thank you for sharing that. And good for you, because you know what? I think that, like I said, not a lot of people are actually implementing it. Because it’s hard work, right? It’s time and effort and energy, but I love that you see what’s in it for you and you’re picking up the benefits, so it’s not just investing but you’re also reaping the benefits from it. And along the way, you’re adding value to everyone who enjoys the fruits of your labor. So thank you for doing that and thank you for being a role model.
Hassan, what’s new and exciting for you on the horizon, before we get to that actionable tip?
Hassan: Sure, so one thing I’m actually working on is, based on your great questions, that’s sort of one question I always get is how do you find the time to actually write books while you’re working a full-time job and in fact, I’m actually going to be putting a webinar, a free webinar about this. I don’t have a specific date yet, but based on the questions I’ve gotten, rather than reply back to every single person through email, I’m actually going to be putting a webinar that shows full-time employees, how to write that book to help their brand as well as how you can find some time saving techniques to help you accomplish that.
Halelly: Awesome. I love that. So when that’s ready, we can just add it to the show notes and invite people to there, depending on when that comes out and when this episode is published. That’s cool. Good for you. So, we always wrap up with something very actionable that people can do right away. Today, tomorrow, this week, that’s going to take their leadership skills up a level. So what do you suggest?
Hassan: Here’s my quick tip. Write something, anything, everyday for 20 minutes. Whether it’s something that you want to share about your own personal leadership experiences, or something that has to do with teaching someone else a skill or something you learned. Then do that. And whether you publish it on a blog, in a book eventually, just the fact, or act, of writing something everyday for someone else to read is going to make you a much, much better leader, thinking and executer going forward.
Halelly: Great advice. I’ve been trying to revisit the morning pages, The Artist’s Way. I don’t know if you’ve ever done that? So that a practice I’ve recently incorporated into my world because I didn’t have a good habitual way of writing. Sort of when the muse strikes me, which is really not the best way to do it. I love that suggestion. And I think some people are using 750 words, is that right? 750words.com? There’s a website where everyday you write 750 words and it tracks it for you and it gives you badges and kind of game-ifies it for you. I don’t know if you’ve ever used it?
Hassan: I haven’t used it, but I’ve heard of it. I just, from my perspective, I don’t like forcing myself up for a specific number of words as much as time, however much I can get through that time period then that works for me.
Halelly: Cool. I love it. Thank you very much, Hassan. It’s been fun talking with you. I wish we had more time. How can people find out more about what you’re putting out there and stay connected so that they continue learning from you outside of this podcast?
Hassan: Sure. You can find me on my blog, TheCouchManager.com, and I’ve got an about page there. You can connect with me on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, even just an email if you’d like to drop me a note.
Halelly: Excellent. Well, I appreciate you sharing a little bit about your background and knowledge and approach with our listeners here, and I’m sure that they will as well. And I hope that you make it a great day, Hassan. Thank you.
Hassan: Thank you so much. This was a pleasure.
Halelly: I don’t know about you, but I am inspired by Hassan and by his ability to really do so much good work in a couple of different tracks. So I hope that you got some great insights from it, and don’t forget that only if you take action will you actually get better. Just thinking about these great insights is not enough. You have to take action. So do it. All of the information and the books we refer to and previous episodes and things like this, all of it is in the show notes. TalentGrow.com/podcast/episode29.
And let me ask you this – did you realize that I put out this content for free? Twice a month and I want to share it with the world. So, if you’ve been getting value from listening to these podcasts, I’m really glad, and I want more people to discover it. So I’m not sure if you recognize this, but iTunes is kind of like a big old search engine. A lot of people that like listening to podcasts are searching for other podcasts that they might also enjoy. Sometimes they search by a keyword around a topic of interest, and sometimes iTunes just sort of pops up suggestions for them. “Hey, if you like this, you might also like these other ones that are similar.” And there tends to be an algorithm in iTunes that helps them choose podcasts to suggest, both in search results and in these sort of organic suggestions. And they’re highly driven by the number of reviews and of course if they’re positive reviews. So this is why I keep asking you to please take a few minutes – I promise, I think it’ll be like five minutes or less – to go over to iTunes and to give me a rating and a one, two or three sentence max review. It is so helpful. I’m not looking for kudos, I’m not looking for you to just gratify me, although I enjoy that. But really, this just helps the content I’m already putting out there reach more people. And that’s my intention. I want to impact as many people as possible, I want to benefit as many people as possible. I’m doing it completely for free and for you to help me out like this would mean so much to me.
So there’s hundreds and hundreds of people listening to these podcasts, and the number of reviews I have – I’ll tell you – do not reflect the number of listeners we have and the number of people I have conversations with who tell me, “Oh my gosh, Halelly, I love your podcasts.” Please help me out. I really appreciate it.
Enough talk. Thank you for hanging around. Thank you for listening. Thank you for your interest. As always, I want to hear your feedback to me about things I can do to make this better for you. So drop me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org, you can tweet at me, @HalellyAzulay, you can write me a comment in the show notes page, but until the next time, make today great and thank you for listening to the TalentGrow Show. I’m Halelly Azulay, your leadership development strategist signing off. Ciao!
Announcer: Thanks for listening to the TalentGrow Show, where we help you develop your talent to become the kind of leader that people want to follow. For more information, visit TalentGrow.com.
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