Learning From and Loving Internet Trolls

I’m not saying I like trolls (angry commentators on the internet).

I just wonder if listening to and loving trolls will make the world a better place.

Ahna Hendrix interviewed me last week and wrote a very generous biographical piece about me. I was very honored.

Then today, the editor emailed me this comment asking if he should approve such a nasty comment:

Joseph Rolland says:

“This guy is a fake, along with his media company. I just checked out his Twitter, it’t not hard for someone with a mild knowledge of modern social media to see that this man is nothing he represents in this article.

With a follow to followers ratio of 1-1 having 10,000 followers means absolutely nothing when you follow over 9,000….nice branding strategy Aaron? Not to mention the videos him and his company seem to be associated with (Corey Pieper) have purchased views, disabled statistics and minimal comment interactions, it wouldn’t surprise if the same was done for his twitter account. Not to mention on the Attention Era Media facebook page each post is followed up with comments from himself (he’s first to comment and like his own posts) comments from his partner Ryan and the few others that work in his company. Its the same 4-5 people on each post. Check it out for yourself on their page. Rarely is there a real interaction with someone who isn’t directly associated with the company. And to top it all off the quality of the work is not breaking any barriers and is hardly different then the boring media you get working with minor studios. I appreciate what this guy is trying to do but I just don’t appreciate an article like this promoting someone who is faking his way into things. I hope that people will see this comment and take it into consideration.”

I told him to approve it.

The comment wasn’t fun to read and parts of it stung a bit, especially the stuff about my team’s Attention Era Media facebook page (which was partially correct). However, stuff like this happens when you put yourself out there.

It is true that I’m not very important in the world.  That’s why I’ve set a high goal for myself.  I’d like to make a big difference with my life someday.  Obviously, I’m not there yet.

I appreciate Joseph’s reminder.

Something tells me that Joseph needs a hug.  I assume something is really wrong in Joseph’s life for him to take the time to inspect and analyze so much of my work just to write this sort of comment.  Maybe he was genuinely disappointed in me after reading Ahna’s article.  I’m not really sure.

Regardless, we need to look forward.  It’s Christmas and the beginning of a new year soon.

Let’s each hug a troll and help make the world a better (and more encouraging) place. Something tells me we’re gonna need it.

Have a  Merry Christmas,

Aaron @Biebert

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6 Reasons Why “Conflicted” is Good for Your Life and Organization

If you want to do great things in life, being conflicted is good.

My last blog post and the one before it had a lot of generous people asking to help me because I seem conflicted.  It’s true that I’m conflicted sometimes, but here are six reasons why that’s a good thing.

1)  Conflicted means you don’t trust yourself

If you’re internally conflicted, it means you’ve realized you’re not always right.  That’s smart.  I’ve made many mistakes and the day I stop watching myself with a leery eye is the day I accept failure.  Anyone who trusts themselves completely is on their way to disaster.

Whether it’s personally or as a team, it’s important to regularly question your practices, ideas, and policies in a changing world.  The day you stop questioning is the day you fall behind.

2)  Conflicted people are moving.

By nature, a “conflicted” person is in a state of unrest and is more likely to be moving. Somewhere.  Once you stop, it’s hard to start again (inertia) and so successful people learn to keep moving.

3)  Peace is not always a good thing

Peace in an organization is not great for advancement.  In peace, there is groupthink, complacency, and a lack of creativity.  People ask, “Why change a good thing?”

Change is good.

Observe the accomplishments and discoveries that happen when governments or companies are conflicted internally or externally.  Look at the discoveries that NASA made while racing the USSR to space.  Look at the technologies developed while defending our country in World War II.  In conflict, people are forced to be at their best.  It pushes us further.

The same goes for individuals.

4)  Conflicted means you’re learning

Conflicted people or organizations are usually hunting for a resolution.  The act of searching for answers keeps us learning, sharp and educated along the way.

5)  Conflicted is good communication

The world is full of conflicts on the inside and outside.  If you seem conflicted to outsiders, you are doing a good job of communicating reality.  Various studies and my own research show we’re in an age of increased transparency and people prefer to work with people, leaders, and companies that are transparent, vulnerable, and humanized.  If you seem conflicted, you also seem more real, approachable, and trustworthy as long as you keep your emotions in check.

6)  Conflicted means you don’t settle for your first impulse

I think people should change their minds.  Even though your first choice might be right currently, it  may not be correct in 5 days or 5 years.  Settling isn’t a good thing.

 

I realize that this may seem ludicrous to some (peace is bad, conflict is good business, etc.), so I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on the issue.  Good or bad, let’s have a discussion about this topic.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Pride Comes Before a Fall

Weak people can be wildly successful because they aren’t too proud to ask for help.

Are you ever weak?

If someone has a weakness holding them back, the first step is admitting it.  Don’t try to hide it.  We can see.  Don’t try to fake it.  We all know.  Don’t try to control it. You can’t fix it yourself.

Just admit it and ask for help.

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace”

– 3,000 year old Hebrew Proverb (King Solomon)

Don’t think this applies to you?  I need a little reminder myself sometimes.

We all have weakness!

I almost got fired from my first leadership job after school because I was too proud to admit what I didn’t know.  I alienated my team.  Performance fell apart.

I fell.

We may be skilled at many things, but we all have a weaknesses somewhere that will bite us if we’re too proud.

  • If we’re too proud to ask for help, we alienate those who can help us.
  • If we’re too proud to learn, the teachers will leave us.
  • If we’re too proud to admit our weakness, we fall behind.

It’s something to think about tomorrow.

Have a humble night,

Aaron@Biebert

PS.  I wrote this for myself and hope we can all use the reminder from time to time.

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In Defense of a 2-Year-Old Secretariat

While reading Warren Buffett’s letter to the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders last week, I came across something very interesting.

Apparently, Warren Buffett just hired 39-year-old Todd Combs as part of his succession plan.  Some are up in arms, saying he “lacks experience” and is too green.  Since Todd and I share the same generation, I was intrigued by the following explanation by the “Oracle of Omaha” himself:

“Our goal was to find a 2-year-old Secretariat, not a 10-year-old Seabiscuit.”
– Warren Buffett

I want to be clear that I have absolutely no problem with experienced people.  In fact, I’m on the lookout for an experienced mentor myself.  I believe that experience may bring additional maturity, strength, and other positive traits to a person.

However, in a time when our world is changing faster than ever before, I want to caution people who focus on “experience” rather than talent and learning ability.

Just look at the last 10 years, as Google went mainstream and some of the most popular marketing tools in the world wove themselves into the fabric our lives:

  • Wikipedia (2001)
  • Linkedin (2003)
  • Facebook (2004)
  • YouTube (2005)
  • Twitter (2006)
  • iPhone (2007)
  • Groupon (2007)
  • Foursquare (2009)

The Attention Age has begun!

With New Media entering the stage, business leaders must deal with 24 hour news cycles and the collective attention span of a world constantly seeking out the next big thing.

Personally, I’m enjoying it.

I’m embracing it.  I’m learning it.  I’m living it.

Whether you’re a “10-year-old Seabiscuit” or a “2-year-old Secretariat”, one thing is for certain:

Experience isn’t as important as it used to be.

We’re all students in these new and exciting times, and the leaders who are best with creativity, learning, and vision will win big.

Todd, I’ll be cheering you on.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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4 Skills for Healthcare Leaders

In my opinion, leadership in the healthcare world has seen a drastic shift from just four years ago and it isn’t going back.  The “Good ‘Ol Days” we once knew are now officially gone (I know this may not be breaking news to you if you’re reading this).

For the skeptics out there, I don’t have any scientific research to back this up.  However, when you see the medical world from the eyes of a visiting consultant and interim leader, it is easier to step back and see how fast change is happening. 

For me, it only took a nurse (your nurse maybe?) posting on Facebook about how boring her hospital meeting was…during the meeting.  About 500 of her friends saw it, and they were commenting back.  One of the commentors told her about another job opportunity at a neighboring facility. 

Wow…

It’s things like this that get me thinking.  What will the future be like, and will we be ready?  I was doing some reading last night about future leaders and the skills they will need, and I created my own list of four skills that I think any of us will need to succeed in the future as leaders in a changing industry that will face severe shortages of nurses, doctors, therapists, and others.

  1. Learning on the Fly
  2. Social Media Savvy
  3. A Caring Attitude
  4. “The Champion” Skill

I’d love to hear your thoughts on each of these, as I’d be shocked if someone didn’t have a great 5th skill to add. 

In the coming days, I am going to write a quick series about these four skills and why I think they’re important.  If you’d like to take part in the discussion (or just get the next post via email instead), you can get these posts sent to you by signing up in the upper right of the main page. 

See you tomorrow!

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About the Author:  Aaron lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife and two children and is the President & CEO of Clear Medical Solutions.  When he’s not leading new initiatives, he periodically takes on interim leadership or consulting projects.  He enjoys teaching, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare.