The Art of Digital Leverage

Cute photo right? What if you had one of these Do Over cards in your purse or wallet? Every time you found yourself wishing for a second chance or an opportunity to do a better job or say the right thing, you could simply whip out your card and start over.

This is my 2017 present to you. I hope you understand, you don’t really need the card, you have to power within you to change course, apologize or just get up and start over. I’ve found the card is a great ice breaker, a conversation starter, a way to soothe the pain.

I got it at the cleaners. It’s the tag they use to tell the cleaning factory (?) to indicate that a garment needs a little more work. While I was there Ms. Ruth thanked me profusely for almost single-handedly keeping them in business this year.

So go ahead, click the image, print it out and stuff your very own Do-Over Card in your pocket. Use it like your AAA card to help get you out of a jam. Disclaimer: I don’t think it will help during a traffic Stop!

Over the weekend we have experienced digital disruption in politics. No matter which side of the political divide you find yourself, the best side is to be an observer of the successful strategy and tactics used by both President Trump and The Women's March on Washington. My hope is you will see their use of Social Media as a learning lab that displays how effective social media can be. You can then reflect on how you can leverage lessons learned to disrupt your organization before your competitor does it to you.

President Trump has leveraged Twitter to employ newsjacking of real-time coverage of his administration. The impact to news organizations as well as public companies proves that he understands the power of the Tweet. West Coast corporations have tasked teams to stand watch through the night to be ready to respond to news from his twitter feed. With jobs and stock prices at stake, the President's consistent early AM Eastern publishing schedule has everybody on alert. 

The Women's March protests in Washington DC, around the country, the world and on 7 continents began with a grandmother in Hawaii and grew to millions. It started with a single post on Facebook. Online platforms provided a frictionless foundation to organize. Virtual community-building tools were leveraged to grow the movement organically worldwide.  

Leveraging What We Have Learned  From These Two Disruptions


LIKING is passive, SHARING is active. Both sides use SHARING to grow and expand. Those who follow the President Retweet, a form of SHARING. The Women's movement used Facebook's SHARING function.

How can your organization engage a community through sharing? 


The images and videos from the march and the images of the crowd provided powerful testimony: If a photo is worth 1,000 words, a video clip is worth 100,000. 

How can your organization incorporate live video to create a powerful impact through storytelling? 


The President's team as invoked author George Orwell's term "Alternative Facts" to describe the content they publish. Starting a conversation gives them a first-mover advantage. 

In times of crisis, how can your organization leverage communication channels to get in front of the story?


The President can be counted on to publish a post each day. It's become a normal expectation. It has shifted attention away from the channels platforms and timeframes we have come to expect.

How will your organization find your perfect audience and what will you do to draw them near?

From Reality Show to Real-Time

Both sides are using entertaining video to show what's happening right now. The sharing happens immediately across the globe, forcing a disruption of our ability to process what's happening.

How will your organization adapt to the firehose of inbound information and stay ahead of your competitor's ability to reach farther, faster to your market? 

 I use social platforms to engage, not for taking sides but to learn from both sides. You don't need a book titled, Digital Disruption for Dummies to understand the topic. The only learning resource you need is your social media feeds.

My signature presentation, The Art of Digital Leverage, focuses on three success factors that improve digital performance, Tools, Talents, and Techniques*. Leaders understand the need to invest in tools. Every company has tools. Extraordinary digital performance happens when leaders invest in the talents of their teams. Platform builders and software publishers now include learning resources to increase the value of their products. Getting started guides, video tutorials, knowledgebase articles and user forums provide current information in real-time. Yesterday someone pointed with pride to their, SEO for Dummies book. The publish date was 2008. I didn't have the heart to tell them the info was worthless. 

If up-to-the-minute information works for team members, imagine the value if someone created an online resource for leaders. Someone did. The Kauffman Foundation just announced a major update to their online learning resource center, What I like best about the center is the second on Learning Paths. It answers the most challenging question about online learning, "Where should I start?" The redesigned site guides learners along the path insight and illumination into the art and science of finance, leadership, board governance and sales. I recommend the site as a resource for both start-ups and established organizations. 

Let me share a hidden bonus. I believe the site serves as a perfect model for an online learning resource for your organization. It's the perfect place to present your Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). If your goal for 2017 included an increase in sales, start by increasing the value of the skills of your team.


* Tools, Talents & Techniques are core principles of our Tech Tuneup Service

I wasn't looking for dead people. I was searching for someone else and stumbled across a former client who had died. It's hard to let go when someone dies, even harder when they are still alive. We always hold out the hope that they just might respond to a re-connect email. At least I didn't wish them "Happy Birthday" on Facebook.

The biggest hit on the Christmas wish list were Virtual Reality systems. The folks who had the most fun were the spectators, not the players. They howled with laughter as they watched their friends stumble around like drunken sailors. The folks who are having the least fun after the holidays are business professionals. Has your New Year euphoria and adrenaline worn off? What I'm hearing from many of my associates in 2017 is, "Now what?" If you are feeling so low you would sit on the edge of a dime and swing your feet, it's time to get real. Let me share a better question for you to ask this N Year.

Do you use Email? How about Social? Do you use CRM to manage your prospects? Of course, you do. In fact, you and all your competitors use these basic tools. It just proves that investing in more tech tools in 2017 for more sales won't help. If you really want to grow revenue in 2017 it's time to invest in talent.  In the Inc Magazine article, Want to Succeed? Do This One Thing author Brian de Haaff offers 5 tactics for success in 2017.

The signs pointing to digital disruption are all around us. Uber for ride-sharing. AirBnB for lodging. If you haven't seen it in your industry, Just wait, by 2020 your company will either be digitally enabled or it will be out of business. The auto industry is already feeling the effects. In the article from Auto Dealer Monthly titled, Dealership Disrupt, Zach Kempt makes the case for not waiting for disruption to find your business.  Zach identifies the challenge, "Three major technology-driven disruptions are impacting the modern auto retail operation: the introduction of competitive business models, an informed, mobile-connected car-buying public and new sales processes that rely on social selling skills."

In my experience, automotive sales representatives still cling to a, "On the Lot" mindset. They still believe a prospect arrives on the lot with absolutely no idea which models are in stock, your rock-bottom price and the history of a specific vehicle. It's really a simple fix that doesn't involve buying more "Cool" Technology. Here are three tips established dealerships can use to hit the ground running in 2017:

  • Fix your Photos - It's not enough to wash each vehicle and place them in perfect alignment. Prospects get their first impression of your inventory from the photos posted online.
  • Use Email to start a conversation - You can't sell a Ferrari on Twitter. Use email to listen to prospects instead of broadcasting. 
  • Use Social to tell your story - Enough of the Buy Now! hype. Use social to share the new customer story. Involved in your community? Let your prospects know why your dealership cares.

That New Car Smell

Your customer relationship is built on an emotional bond of trust. All industries will experience digital disruption. They key to your success in 2017 will be to self-disrupt your industry.

Learn more...

These valuable tips come from my Keynote presentation, The Art of Digital Leverage - Tools, Talents, Techniques. To learn more about the process, visit:  




You have all the technology you need to make your business a success. All of us do, even your competitors. Especially your competitors. In 10 days you will hear the starters pistol for 2017. Will you be ready to leap forward or will your organization be caught flat-footed?

Winning the race called 2017 requires more than a toolbox full of technology. Success in 2017 requires all your talents and techniques. In their article, How to Improve Your Tech Marketing Videos With E-Learning Insights The folks at identify the critical steps required to train your team to get the most from your investment in digital technology.

I've training thousands of business professionals in diverse industries including banking, financial services, transportation, and healthcare. There is a constant thread running through all those sessions. Adults want to know, "How will this help me with my job."  Business leaders share team members focus on the bottom line. Feature-rich apps, cloud-based platforms, plus the need to connect the digital dots between functions demand more than a subscription to the $20 a month software club.

Training On-demand

A key finding from the article is, "The age of bite-size learning is upon us." As solution platforms gain complexity, software publishers have met the challenge by developing a toolbox of training and support features to help users master their tools. Instead of a printed manual, users are offered a buffet of learning options. Like any buffet, there are simply too many options. Users become overwhelmed. A properly trained team creates the competitive advantage organizations need for more sales. Here are some ideas you can put to use immediately to hit the ground running the first Monday in 2017.

A Leap in Digital Performance

The digital leverage produced by technology is both amazing and powerful. In untrained hands, typo-laden emails deliver a brand-killing message to thousands of inboxes in the blink of an eye. Don't let this happen to your organization. Do this instead:

  • With your computer turned off, make a list of the processes technology could help with. Pay particular attention to tasks that could profit from streamlining or automation. Just finished performing the same task three times this morning? Automating a task frees up the team member for what they do best, delivers better results, faster.
  • Create a second list of the tools in your digital toolbox. Don't forget the apps on your mobile device. When you get tired, stop. My experience tells me we have more technology than we know how to use or need. 
  • Pick one tool or App or platform. Create a third list of all the available learning resources the tool provides. Getting Starting guides, knowledgebase, video tutorials, webinars and support options.
  • Pick one process, one tool, and one training resource from your lists. Ready? Put the "bite-sized learning" process in motion. Invest your time in mastering this single process. Give yourself a badge, a metal or just a high-five.
  • Take what you learned from the process and pick a second then another until you've worked your way through all the process your company needs to create success.

Your Productivity Payoff

Complete these 5 simple steps and your productivity will soar, prospects will engage with your brand and that feeling of frustration and being overwhelmed by technology will soon become a dim memory.

Learn more...

These valuable tips come from my Keynote presentation, The Art of Digital Leverage - Tools, Talents, Techniques. To learn more about the process, visit:  




The question, "How did you find me?" is often at the top of the list when qualifying sales prospects. Making sure they find you is one of the top PR goals business owners focus on for more sales. Defining the customer journey is the process that brings them to your virtual door. Your success in 2017 depends on how well you guide them on that journey.

Many established businesses invest in technology tools without a thought to strategy. Engaging prospects requires more than a single marketing message. Trust is difficult to achieve in an era of fake news. In his article, Five Steps to Integrating Your Blog, Social Media, and Email Marketing, Author Joe Griffin offers 5 steps business professionals can use to create a Customer Journey that connects the digital dots.

It would be easy to discount the value Joe offers. It looks like more work. In fact, this strategy provides more value, with less effort. Connecting the digital dots between social, blog, and email takes less effort while delivering better results. It reduces the number of social posts while building engagement. It creates a path of engagement building toward trust.

My two cents worth:

  • Start with a whiteboard - you can't create a bold vision staring at the screen on your mobile device. 
  • You have everything you need - Dorothy wore the Ruby Slippers the entire journey to Oz. You have all the technology you need. What's missing is an engagement strategy to bring it all together. 
  • What's your Why? - Start with what you want to accomplish, instead of which tools you should use. 

Constant posting on social is an exercise it futility. The art of digital leverage starts with engagement. Building your customer journey starts with the question, "What's next?"


What I am most excited about today is the completion of my move to the Baymeadows area of Jacksonville. More than just a new address, we are talking new company, title, location and phone number. The only items retained are my email address and links to social platforms. Here's more on how I made this decision... 

Start-up companies are the darlings of the business world. They have that new company smell. No messy paper records, or unfinished business. No broken equipment, or people. On the other hand, existing businesses, have history, traditions, loyal customers. This is for owners of existing businesses who want to rediscover their loyal customer-base before they disappear.

Online Video is challenging to plan, produce and publish. It's worth all the effort, pain and suffering. User engagement with video is 4 times as effective as another content. In a world filled with bright shiny objects, the right kind of view can tell your story, engage with a new audience and reconnect with former followers. 

[Editors note] this article originally appeared online in 
Speaker Magazine. I was asked to share it with my entire community. Enjoy!

Whenever I respond to the question, “What Do You Do?” the conversation immediately takes a sharp turn toward cynicism, “Nobody can make technology work,” or longing, “I wish my technology worked.” Both are accurate, but the truth lies somewhere in between.

What makes a contact database better? The stock answer is build it bigger! The right answer is build it better. Having a first name and email address is a good start, but it doesn’t help you understand their needs or help you deliver solutions.

In Brian De Haaff's Inc. Magazine article, 4 Ways Successful People Learn More, Brian, Founder and CEO of Aha! makes the case that life-long learners are more successful. Brian's first suggestion is to discover how you learn. While working with a client on Tuesday I experienced one of my most effective learning settings. It's the Brainstorm.

It starts with a single click, or currently, a tap. In Brian De Haaff's Inc. Magazine article, 4 Ways Successful People Learn More, Brian, Founder and CEO of Aha! makes the case that life-long learners are more successful. He artfully uses the single most powerful element of the World Wide Web, The hyperlink.

Frequently I post "What I Learned" on social. I post immediately after a conference, class, almost any event. It's more that an editorial segue to an article I'm sharing. It's an essential exercise I use to maintain mental fitness. In Brian De Haaff's Inc. Magazine article, 4 Ways Successful People Learn More, Brian, Foundaer and CEO of Aha! makes the case that life-long learners are more successful.

You hear it on a Friday afternoon, "Well, we can get to that next week, I’m going to start the weekend early."  Or you hear it when Summer starts, "I’m going to enjoy some time off this Summer, we will hit it hard next Fall." The most challenging is a stage of life excuse, "Well, I’m getting older now, time to slow down."

Doug Wilder declared his independence this holiday weekend. Instead of getting in his car and driving all over town to visit clients and prospects he took to the internet to publish a blog post. 

It started Friday morning with a visit to my Kuna Co-working studio. Doug had accepted my invitation to appear as my special guest on the Art of Digital Leverage podcast. Just a 10-minute live video broadcast was all it took. Post-production included editing via iMovie then an upload to Vimeo .

Doug did the heavy lifting by publishing a blog post to share the clip

Business Coach Doug Wilder shared his new service for organizations that have high-value team members who are off-track. To learn more visit:

What if you could that that, "back-of-the-napkin" business idea and turn it into a one-page business plan? Not only that, but what if you could do it in less than 30 minutes for less that a few of those fancy coffee drinks?


Challenging. It’s the best word to describe business blogging. Although at times it may feel like pushing a piece of wet spaghetti, it’s one of the most important elements of the path of engagement your prospects take toward becoming loyal customers.

John Chappelear, author of The Daily Six, has been publishing, “Positive Thoughts For The Week” for more than a decade. Distributed via Facebook, Email subscription and personal invitation, John rarely misses a deadline. When he does, fans contact him immediately, concerned for his well-being.