Monday, February 21, 2011

The Global Revolution Has Begun

During the riots in Egypt to oust dictator Hosni Mubarak, senior news reporter for Nile Television in Cairo, Shahira Amin, noticed something odd; her state owned news agency asked her to lie about the riots.

Mubarak himself, knowing full well the world was watching, attempted to downplay the event as a small unhappy group of radicals who were disgruntled with his benevolent leadership.

Shahira Amin, after days of being told to say it was the Muslim Bro'hood who organized protests, live, on air she spoke from the heart and quit...“I refuse to be a hypocrite. I feel liberated.” So, she did what anyone in her position would do...Shahira Amin joined the protesters. "They are not showing what's happening in Tahrir Square. People are dying here, everything is distorted." Amin told told Al-Jazeera.

But THIS was a new type of revolution and the first of its kind:  

The Internet has driven this one

Wael Ghonim from The Los Angeles Times
"This revolution started on Facebook" said Wael Ghonim - marketing manager at Google (he himself Egyptian) - gained international notoriety when he was abducted by Egyptian police shortly after arriving in Cairo to participate in the demonstrations. Blindfolded for 12 days he credits President Obama and Google for his release.

Google covered the event and the protesters Tweeted, Facebooked, YouTubed and got the word out via smart phones. Ironically, the revolution would not have happened had it not been for social media.

Something strange is happening all over the world. A revolution is taking place. A revolution of ideas and knowledge is spreading because of the Internet. As Egyptian, Tunisian and Libyan protesters start to stand up and demand a better government, I begin to realize, this revolution is driven by people 30 years of age and younger --college educated digital natives who had traveled abroad, blogged or shared ideas over social media. They have been discussing ideas about a governments role in the life of the citizenry.

This revolution is being lead by Generation Y
The impossible is possible to me because I saw the first man standing on the moon—broadcast live. It taught me that great leaps require discipline, a steady set of goals, and a solid belief that no matter what, we are going to get there...

One-of-a-kind ideas require offbeat people who understand the bigger picture. When people believe they are changing the world, and when they are given the tools to do so, chances are that they will create a better world for us all. They just need the chance to be creative in their own field, whether it’s physics, mathematics, psychology, spirituality, film-making, or what have you."

Liquid Leadership, the chapter entitled The Yellow Brick Road, page 293

And that's the part I like - the "what have you" part.

The Internet's real part in this drama is presenting ideas about government, people, our roles, representational government and human rights that would otherwise not see the light of day 25 years ago. Christians worked to help Muslims, college students were sharing ideas and thoughts with their parents, vendors came out to feed everyone as all of Egypt used their social networking tools to share it all.

Why else would dictators attempt to shut off the Internet? Its about fear. Fear that people will share ideas, rise up, and take away their power. How dare the peasants express their anger? So naturally in the minds of the dictator, it's the Internet's fault...and on one level, it IS the Internet that helped people coordinate forces. A medium for our times that is changing the face of our planet.
Without the billions of dollars to build an Internet infrastructure and cell phone grid, there would have been no uprising...nor would the world have known about the events taking place in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.

The ability to share ideas is what causes revolution...
that and people tired of abuse.

And it isn't just angry people leading this - Educated people are leading this revolution. All over the world, the knowledge of Liberty and Sovereignty are gaining traction. As an American, I am proud of those who revolt against tyranny and embrace liberty.

It also makes me wonder, when will repressive dictators realize - there is a point when the people cannot take anymore and rise up. Throughout history this is always the case.
Why risk it?

Welcome to the future.

Thank you for reading,

Brad Szollose

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Who Wants A Job...
When You Can Make
A Difference?

This month I am proud to say Liquid Leadership is featured on CausePlanet — a professional development resource and time management tool for nonprofit leaders. But one of the best services Cause Planet provides to its members is executive summaries of business books relevant for nonprofit leaders.

This is a great fit for me on several fronts; first, many of you are learning in your 24/7 connected day-in and day-out rush to squeeze a 28 hour day into 10, that time management is no longer about time... It is about managing ourselves, (wasn't technology supposed to free us up?).

And secondly — I speak about this extensively in the pages of Liquid leadership — no one wants to just work for some company anymore. People want engagement, creativity, appreciation for their day-to-day contribution, and more importantly, a chance to make a difference.

Acting Local, Thinking Global.
Of the planet’s 6.8 billion people, 4 billion live in conditions that are not much better than they were in the year 1500. Many of the children in these underdeveloped countries go barefoot throughout their entire childhood. Simply running, playing, or walking to the doctor all become high-risk activities when done without shoes. This exposure can cause cuts and bruises that have trouble healing, and when exposed to contaminated soil and parasites—a common problem in these countries—the majority of these barefoot children run the risk of amputation and even death.

But one entrepreneur had the chance to change this. In 2006 while visiting Argentina, American traveler Blake Mycoskie came to the sad realization that most children he befriended in the South American country had no shoes on their feet. What was more astonishing was that none of these children had ever owned a pair of shoes. And because they had trouble walking to certain places, they could not attend school, where shoes are a prerequisite along with a school uniform. Without school, they would grow up to become uneducated adults, incapable of joining a global workforce.

Blake decided to do something about this disparity by founding TOMS Shoes on a single idea: For every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. And thus the One for One program was born. As their company motto states, “Using the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good is what we’re all about.”

Since 2006, TOMS Shoes has been instrumental in giving more than six hundred thousand pairs of shoes to children in underdeveloped and developing countries. The consumer who buys a pair of TOMS Shoes does so with the full awareness that they are helping a child in an underdeveloped village get a chance at an education, as well as lowering the mortality rate. TOMS is one of the best examples of a twenty-first-century entrepreneur.

Capable of helping the planet while making commerce fun and socially responsible, most young entrepreneurs are discovering it’s not that hard. Instead of sponsoring some 6K run for the local Yuppies, why not use your profits to help those who actually need our help?

The company’s nonprofit organization Friends of TOMS also coordinates Shoe Drops around the world in order to drop off their shoes in remote areas and at the same time give employees and volunteers the experience of giving TOMS shoes firsthand. In March 2010, during a Shoe Drop in the northwest region called Shyira Diocese, Rwanda, TOMS, in partnership with Kris Allen (2009’s American Idol winner) and Arkansas- based organization Bridge2Rwanda, distributed one thousand pairs of shoes to children in remote villages. This was TOMS’ first personal visit to Rwanda, though they had been giving shoes there through another giving partner, World Vision, for some time. Kris sang and played guitar with the kids, inspiring them to laugh, smile, and dance. Now, another thirty two thousand pairs have been distributed by Bridge2Rwanda volunteers and local Rwandan organizations to kids in these same communities.

Doug Piwinski, TOMS’ newest family member, who spent his very first days working for TOMS on the Rwanda Shoe Drop, said it best: “What I realized while in Rwanda is that all the beautiful and amazing people I met there were connected by something bigger than any one person—the One for One movement. That’s such a powerful feeling, and I can’t wait to do more.”

- Liquid Leadership, page 285

Shedding the old ways of thinking is incredibly necessary for a company’s survival in the Information Age. To build a company that can survive long into the future will require constant diligence. This diligence comes from great leadership. And great companies never stray from their mission and foundation. They stand for something bigger at the core of their mission statement, while embracing the disruptive change from era to era.

They do this because they understand that disruption has been a part of normal business cycles throughout history. These companies create a lasting legacy for innovation by embracing a three-pronged foundation:

• Committing to integrity and sound management
• Not pursuing easy gains
• Maintaining an air of entrepreneurship

I cannot take credit for this model. It is from the oldest company in the world, the four-hundred-year-old Sumitomo Corporation.

No one wants a job anymore. They want a chance to work for a company committed to changing the world...for a better tomorrow. Not just in words, but in know, a return to the human side of business.

So why not place this kind of commitment at the beginning of your mission statement?

Thank you for reading,

Brad Szollose

PS: and a special Thank You goes out to Cause Planet for making a difference.

Brad Szollose Bio:


Who Is Brad Szollose?: 

Cofounder of Another Big Production. Host of Awakened Nation™. Award-Winning Author. Creative Director. Leader. Visionary. TEDxSpeaker. Web Pioneer. C-Level Executive.

First things, first. How do you say Szollose?
It’s pronounced zol-us.

From founding partner and CMO of K2 Design, Inc. the first Digital Agency to go public on NASDAQ to international leadership development expert, Brad Szollose has worked with household names like MasterCard, American Management Association and Tony Robbins, to create leadership training programs for a new generation.

As an award-winning creative director, he has been the creative force behind hundreds of high-end corporate events, personal and consumer brands, and website launches. Brad is the recipient of the Corporate Identity Design Award and the Axiom Business Book Award along with various awards for website and print design.

As a C-Level executive at K2, his unique management model was awarded the Arthur Andersen New York Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation Amongst Employees (Workforce Culture).

Today, the world’s leading business publications seek out Brad’s insights on next-generation leadership development, branding and modern Management Strategies, and he has been featured (both print and online versions) in Forbes, Inc., Advertising Age, USA Today, New York Magazine, The Huffington Post, International Business Times, Le Journal du Dimanche (France), and The Hindu Business Line to name a few, along with television, radio and podcast appearances on CGTN America, CBS, Roku Network and other media outlets.

Brad continues to challenge the status quo with his new book, Liquid Leadership 2.0, and his new podcast, Awakened Nation.

After 35 years in New York City, he now calls Las Vegas home. In his free time, he enjoys hiking in the mountains, working Star Trek and Dune quotes into everyday conversation, and painting and drawing the stunning landscapes of the American Southwest.